Is New Mexico REALLY “Following the Science” on COVID?

Recently (on February 19, 2021), Tracie Collins, M.D., New Mexico Secretary of Health was deposed in a case in US brought by various businesses that have opposed the Gov.’s lockdown policies relating to COVID 19.

The Deposition was videotaped, so we can provide broadcast news outlets (or even just YouTube and similar platforms) with clips. Here is the full transcript of Collins’ deposition.

Key Take-aways:

  1. The Department of Health does not consider the economic impact of lockdowns in crafting its Public Health Orders.
  2. The Department of Health does not adjust “positive COVID test” results to account for false positive tests.
  3. The Department of Health cannot explain why Florida and Texas, which are not locked down, have lower COVID fatality rates than New Mexico. The experiences of other states are not considered by the Secretary or the New Mexico Department of Health in crafting the Public Health Orders.
  4. The Department of Health does not take into consideration other adverse health impacts, like increased depression, suicide, and childhood obesity in crafting the Public Health Orders.
  5. The Secretary places significant reliance on the Department of Health’s legal staff when crafting the Public Health Orders. She does not know if any of the Department’s lawyers have any training or education in public health.
  6. The Secretary is unaware of any scientific studies that support the specific restrictions, prohibitions, and permitted activities under the Public Health Orders.
  7. The Secretary cannot say whether the risk from COVID must be zero, before the Public Health Orders will end.

Below are Page and Line references to deposition testimony:

Data and Experience from other States “can” be considered in crafting New Mexico’s Public Health Orders, but Secretary Collins will not say that it “should” be considered.  See, page 11, line 2 to line 14 (“11:2 – 14”)

The Department of Health has minimized economic harm from the shutdowns by reducing morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 and keeping people alive so that they will have an opportunity at some time in the future to reopen their business.  See page 32, line 24 to page 34, line 5 (“32:24 – 34:5”)

The Department does not track or control for false positive tests, or make adjustments to their numbers based on the presence of false positive tests.  34:11 – 37:17; and 37:21 – 41:11

The Secretary cannot explain why Florida and South Dakota, which are not locked down, have a lower COVID-related fatality rate than New Mexico.  Nor is she interested in using such data to determine whether lockdowns work.  48:3 – 53:19

The Secretary does not know why New Mexico has not done a regression analysis to determine whether the shutdown orders have had a positive impact on COVID transmission rates.  54:2 – 56:2

The Secretary is not aware of New Mexico attempting any other analysis of the adverse economic impact of the shutdown orders.  She does not know if the State has done anything to consider the economic cost and damage caused by the shutdown orders.  She does not know if the economic costs and damages arising from the shutdown orders is significant.  57:15 – 58:22; and 100:15 – 20

The Secretary does not know what adverse health consequences have arisen as a result of having to close business and losing jobs.  The Secretary has done no study regarding the adverse health consequences caused by lockdowns (increased depression, suicide, childhood obestity, etc.).   58:23 – 63:3

The Secretary is not aware of any studies that the business activities that are permitted under the Public Health Orders are less risky than the business activities that have been prohibited.  63:4 – 64:7

The Secretary would have to confer with the Department’s general counsel (i.e., its lawyers) to understand why certain businesses, like TopGolf and New Mexico United are allowed to operate, and others are not.  64:8 – 66:13

The Public Health Orders do not consider the potential harm or damage to the businesses that are being closed.  The Secretary does not know who, if anyone, in State government is supposed to look at the cost and damage to the businesses and people subject to the Public Health Orders.  67:10 – 69:1

The fatality rate from COVID for children ages 5 to 14 is 0.001%, or 1 out of every 100,000 children who contract the virus.  For children age 19 and under, the fatality rate is 0.003% or 3 out of every 100,000 children who contract the virus.  This is lower than the fatality rates for other infectious diseases.  69:4 – 70:4.

New Mexico has not studied the effect of the pandemic on childhood obesity.  72:20 – 74:13

The Secretary is unaware of any studies by the Department of Health of the impact of play deprivation on children resulting from the lockdowns and public health orders.  80:11 – 82:4

The Secretary cannot say whether the Public Health Orders will continue until the risk of COVID is zero.  82:5 – 83:5

In general, other factors such as adverse health consequences to children and adults and adverse economic impacts on businesses and employees are not taken into consideration by the Department or the Secretary when it comes to the contents of the Public Health Orders.  84:5 – 85:8.

Decisions about which businesses are in what category in the Public Health Orders is determined by the legal department working with the Secretary.  The Secretary does not know if there is a “written trail” for the decision as to which type of businesses will go in which category; nor does she know if any of the lawyers in her department have any education in public health.  89:1 – 18

The Secretary is unaware of any analysis or studies that were performed before gyms, group fitness classes, skating rinks, bowling alleys, and personal trainers were taken off the “prohibited from opening list” in the Public Health Order, to the permitted to open under limited capacity list.  93:23 – 94:14

The Secretary would have to confer with the Department’s lawyers before she could say how an industry or particular business activity can have its category or definition changed and be allowed to open.  94:15 – 95:7.

The Secretary would have to confer with the Department’s lawyers to understand why some business that cannot practice social distancing, like massage parlors, barbershops and nail salons are open, while other businesses, like trampoline parks and other “close-contact recreational facilities” where the Department is concerned about social distancing, are closed.  100:21 -101:23.

Coronavirus variants and mutations: The science explained - BBC News


UPDATE: RGF has obtained Collins’ full deposition. It is below in three parts:

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10 Replies to “Is New Mexico REALLY “Following the Science” on COVID?”

  1. Outstanding, unbiased work that sheds light on the political decisions that seemingly have little critical thought applied to them. These health orders seem extremely conservative at the cost of everything else. Yet we can still pack into the Coronado Mall. The only reason most business comply is due to legal implications and fear of fines, not because they support this garbage. They’re just glad that they’re “allowed” to operate at all. Goodbye to all small businesses and commercial recreation facilities. This state will take at least a decade to recover economically, if ever.

  2. I can understand why the Secretary of Health wouldn’t know the answer to business impacts. But to not know the health impacts from lockdowns is insane. I’m not sure how data from other states would be irrelevant to our state.

  3. Sounds like “the Secretary” doesn’t know much and shouldn’t be in that position!

    Sounds like “the Secretary” is a nincompoop!

    Sounds like “the Secretary” is a bootlicker.

  4. Many thanks to Mr. Rogers for releasing this info to the RGF and to the RGF for releasing this vital info to the public. It would be interesting if the RGF or someone else could tape every evening news broadcast in ABQ for the next 30 days to determine whether any of the info in the depo is mentioned by the local TV news media. If it is not, it will show how in the tank the local TV stations are for the Dems ,and what a joke they are in terms of the quality of news coverage. I stopped watching local TV news in ABQ about fifteen years ago because the quality was so miserable.

  5. It has been obvious since the beginning that the State’s response to the CCP virus has been anything but “evidence-based, science-based, data-based.” One of the most disappointing things about this whole mess is the incredible credulity of the New Mexico public.

    1. This is ALL arbitrary. MLG uses Scrase as her “advisor.” Remember, Scrase is in NO position to be where he is…he’s the Lujan family physician with no credentials to make recommendations for the state. He’s probably a fine geriatrician, but he has no experience in epidemiology or public health policy. Collins is just a mouthpiece, as are most of them on MLG’s cabinet. She chose people who are either meek or who will spin the narrative to what she wants to hear. The fact is, the longer this state stays closed down, the more federal money we will bring in. The second we open, she will have to answer for our economic devastation, as well as the Martinez surplus that she squandered.

  6. Unbelievable. This is only a proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’
    I wish we could depose MLG and Dr. Scrase
    We could then expose all the lies/deceit completely.
    MLG is on the run after her sexual assault history has come up, now this.
    This is criminal all of this, everything they have done in the name of “safety”
    Frauds every one in MLG’s admistartion.
    This ends when WE say NO MORE!

  7. I has been evident since march of 2020 that nearly every mandated action was put into place without regard to the science of epidemiolgy, in spite of obvious economic calamity, and with no concern for the well-being of the populous. The same goes for the constant barrage of pro-vaccine propaganda. When we know the government is lying to us in some cases, why would any sane person believe the government in ANY case?

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