The US state of California has been using a "complex" model based on projected regional intensive care unit (ICU) capacity to assign lockdown tiers since December, however, last week's lockdown in Sacramento was suddenly lifted despite an ICU capacity of less than 10 percent.
Business in the area were forced into action, scrambling to reopen and rehire staff at short notice. California Restaurant Association President and CEO Jot Condie told the Daily Mail that “It's created logistical difficulties for the industry.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is under fire as a result – from the start of the pandemic he's said that his coronavirus policy decisions would be driven by data shared with the public.
His administration earlier released data models used by state officials to project changes in the number of infections, hospitalisations, and deaths. The administration has created five regions in the state and their level of virus restrictions depends on ICU capacity – if it sinks below 15 percent, a lockdown is enforced.
However, the COVID-19 lockdown order was lifted for the Greater Sacramento area despite the fact that all regions’ ICU capacity at the beginning of the last week was well below 15 percent.
State health officials said they used a combination of models to project future ICU capacity, but they're refusing to make them public, saying they rely on a complex set of measurements that would confuse and potentially mislead people.
Business owners are calling for greater transparency so they can prepare for any changes.