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Data Scientist: Gov. Kate Brown’s decision to close restaurants will save lives

That’s the number of lives Peter Graven, a leading data scientist at Oregon University of Health and Science, says Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is saving by closing indoor dining rooms in restaurants and bars on April 30.

More than 700 hospitalizations for COVID-19 will also be prevented, Graven told a news conference with Brown on Friday.

“As your governor, I chose to save lives,”

; Brown said.

That number depends on whether Oregonans heed a warning from health experts and a Democratic governor that Oregon is experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases and is again in a high-risk scenario. Whether this will happen is uncertain: Hotel lobbyists and elected officials, many of them Republicans, are coordinating the opposition against the new restrictions.

COVID cases in Oregon are growing faster than any other state in the country. In the last two weeks, cases in Oregon have increased by 31%, and New York Times the analysis shows. Oregon now has the 13th highest number of cases in two weeks, after the state was among the least prevalent viruses for most of the pandemic.

“We reversed the virus in the fall by reducing our activities,” Graven said at a news conference. “And that’s why we had one of the lowest cases in the country. We already know that this policy is effective when the Oregons embark on it. This will make everything different. “

Graven says that indoor activities, when you can’t wear a mask, remain the most risky.

For weeks, Brown has been reluctant to look at growing cases. It has repeatedly changed the existing framework to avoid repression against bars and restaurants – it has even decided not to close any counties until the state receives 300 COVID-19 hospitals. This was a threshold that was not expected to reach the country just a few weeks ago.

But even if she has made a decision backed by leading experts, Brown faces political revolt – a clear indicator of how unpopular her decision is.

As KGW reported for the first time, the restaurant and elected government officials jointly signed a letter opposing the suspension, calling on the governor to hand over power to the counties.

“The closure of our restaurants and further deprivation of the right of Oregonians to make calculated risks of community involvement when the virus continues to spread elsewhere will not lead to success,” the letter, co-signed by the Washington County president, said. Catherine Harrington and Clackamas County Prefect Tootti Smith, as well as four other county commissioners in each of Portland’s suburbs. “We can reverse the scenario by removing state-mandated business restrictions for our communities, while empowering our county health services to maintain high expectations for ongoing health and safety measures, as recommended by [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. “

The letter also says that restaurants in Oregon have had good experience in following health guidelines. “It’s no coincidence that Oregon has not seen a single case of a super-spread event related to our hospitality industry.”

The letter does not mention that 10 restaurants and bars are on the state’s list of active outbreaks in the workplace.

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