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Message from Artesia Mayor Ali Sajjad Taj: Let Our Future Be Science Driven

Ali Sajjad Taj, Mayor of Artesia

We are a small diverse community and we only have 14 cases for a population of approximately 18,000. That does not mean we are taking the threat from the Coronavirus lightly.

As Mayor of Artesia, I am concerned about the vulnerable populations in our community and neighboring communities such as Cerritos, Norwalk, Lakewood, Bellflower, Hawaiian Gardens as well as our county and our region. We are very much linked and connected, impacted by the health of our immediate communities as well as the public health of the entire country and the world.

I am, as all Mayors are, deeply concerned about the economic toll of the crisis. However, lives are more valuable, ethically more valuable, and it is well known that a healthier community is a wealthier community in the long run.

To make it healthy and safe we are hoping for support from the state for widespread testing in Artesia. We have our Downtown Artesia which attracts a good amount of walking traffic. We need a kiosk to test anyone walking by who wants to be tested for free. This is the only way we will be able to get the data we need to have a pulse on the spread and as a result the public health of our community.

The other key part of re-opening is protecting our vulnerable populations. In this regard, I would like to see measures implemented in nursing homes in our area where everyone visiting the homes is tested before they enter. High levels of hygiene and disinfection must be maintained while this virus is circulating.

The key lesson from the coronavirus crisis shows that much more attention to public health systems and that universal health care and other relevant public goods are necessities, not luxuries.

This crisis was definitely preventable, a few billion dollars invested in public health would have prevented the multi-trillion dollar lost in this fiasco had we only invested in testing and tracking systems, which are needed in a globally connected world.

One hundred years ago, a disease such as COVID-19 may never have reached the United States from Asia, but when you have hundreds of flights daily connecting the world, such risks have to be considered and mitigated with science.

There are many such threats most notably, global warming, where the cost of REACTION is at maybe thousands of times higher than the cost or PRO-ACTION.

Let’s listen to scientists and be proactive about such threats to our health and our environment. Let us start to think more like global citizens where my breath affects everyone else’s breath, this has been proven. The same is true for a shared environment, the air we breathe, and the water we drink.

A vaccine may be developed sooner by having volunteers take the COVID Human Challenge. I support this together with 35 members of Congress.



We need a young healthy group of Americans, a small volunteer army to fight this virus so the rest of us can be safe.

If we secured 18-30 year-old volunteers, the level of risk to would be the same as a kidney donation operation; and we don’t need too many, perhaps only 100.

This would mean we can have a vaccine in the vulnerable population by August this year.


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