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By Dale Rosenfeldt

I admit to watching a lot of television. I don’t mean Outlander, Shameless, and Tiger King. I mean press conferences such as the almost daily ones hosted by Gavin Newsom. I’ve learned some new terms and new meanings for familiar terms. Here are the ABCs according to the governor.

Attestation—Counties must “attest” (prove, provide written evidence) of their plans to meet the governor’s criteria to reopen safely. Orange County has been on the watch list for more than three consecutive days, so we have had to dial back (think dimmer switch analogy), which includes no bars, wineries, pubs, and indoor dining.

BLM—No not that, the “Bureau of Land Management” is being discussed as fire season is upon us. The ubiquitous illegal fireworks not only made dogs and their owners miserable, they helped kick off our fire season with little fires everywhere. Is it possible to layer calamity on calamity?

Cohort—One of Gavin’s favorite terms for a group, army, or unit such as the contact trackers/tracers still in training.

Data—Yes, data is a four-letter word. Numbers don’t always tell you what you want to know, but if you torture them enough, they will tell you what you want to hear.

Epidemic vs. pandemic—Epidemics are regional, or community-based. With epidemic spread, an epidemic becomes a pandemic and can lead to pandemonium.

Flatten the curve—We did it once and can do it again, so we are told. It was the explanation for the lockdown.

Localism is determinant—After innumerable one-size mandates, the governor came up with this phrase to address the differences throughout the state. No two communities, cities, counties, or regions are alike. The Dispatch understands localism.

Meet this moment—The governor loves to speak in terms of the pandemic being “a moment.” I personally wish the moment would pass, because the lockdown alone felt like a year.

Potency of individual decision making—Pretty much says it all.

PSA—Despite a $54 billion budget deficit, the governor is spending millions on “Public Service Announcements” to remind us to . . . wait for it . . . wear cloth face coverings, physically distance, and wash our hands.

Quarantine—Strict isolation imposed to prevent the spread of disease associated with known exposure. Self-isolation does not include known exposure but represents actions associated with an “abundance of caution,” another term that is tired! Many states including Hawaii require a 14-day quarantine after flying there, and a friend of mine who recently flew domestically to attend his mother-in-law’s funeral was quarantined from his job for seven days. In Georgia, symptoms present faster?

Respirator vs. Ventilator—OK, OK, I will wash my hands, distance, and wear a cloth face covering because although there does not appear to be a shortage, I don’t want to be on either.

Sober—While consumable alcohol sales are up in the time of COVID-19, nothing is more sobering than knowing someone struggling to survive COVID-19. While at one time none of us knew anyone who tested positive, that has changed, as have other data points.

Social distancing—Seems somewhat antisocial, so why not call it physical distancing? At least in our community, there are no chalk circles in parks to aid us with this mandate. Of course, there is caution tape that keeps reappearing in our tot lots.

Teachers Unions/CTA—Recently the governor signed a state spending bill that guarantees pay and benefits for teachers and other union education employees regardless of whether schools reopen this fall or not. Why? Follow the money. The California Teachers Association and its local unions are the largest donors to the California Democratic Party. Mastering the ABCs in our schools will have to wait.

Um—I believe the governor genuinely wants to save lives and restart the economy. Like many public speakers and bureaucrats, he peppers his stream-of-consciousness messages with non-words. Um is his go-to and many of us, me included, are also saying um! What next?

Dale Rosenfeldt is a consultant and trainer who travels often but is happiest at home in her art studio and with her husband, their dog and tabby cat. Her husband operates a business in town and is a commissioner and influencer.

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