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Supervisor Brandau on His COVID-19 Diagnosis and Attending Maskless Rallies
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By Jim Jakobs, Digital Producer
Published 3 years ago on
November 6, 2020

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Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau spoke with GV Wire℠ Thursday night just hours after learning he had tested positive for COVID-19.

As first reported by GV Wire℠, Fresno County officials said Thursday that supervisors and employees were quarantining at home after “someone” in the main administration building tested positive for the coronavirus.
Now, Brandau confirms he’s the “someone” that may have exposed many others going as far back as Sunday, Nov. 1
What follows is a synopsis of GV Wire’s interview with Brandau, in which he discussed his early response to the coronavirus pandemic and his early resistance to wearing a mask. (The full video is above.)

Q&A: Not Wearing a Mask

GV Wire℠: “What do you say to folks that say, well, you know, going back to the beginning of the pandemic, you were seen at some rallies without a mask. Some people on the other side might say, ‘Oh, well, that’s Brandau. He wasn’t taking this seriously. What would you say to somebody that comes up to you with that question after this?

Steve Brandau

“I was a little sketchy on the mask. I’m willing to admit.”Fresno County Supervisor Steve Brandau

Brandau:  “Yeah, that’s a great question, because, you know, there’s been a lot of going back and forth about the masks and so just for the GV Wire℠ audience to know, I wear a mask every time I go outside. Now, I go into a store, I go into a restaurant, I wear the mask just like everybody else has. I’ve observed that ever since the governor put us under a mandatory mask wearing. And so before that, I was a little sketchy on the mask. I’m willing to admit, and I’m not still I’m not that guy who’s going to tell the world what COVID-19 is doing. I think COVID-19 is doing whatever it wants to do. So, but I have been so I caught COVID-19 following wearing the mask. And so it was not during a time where I was not wearing a mask. Whenever I caught it, whoever I caught it from, it’s during a time frame that I’m wearing that mask just like everybody else. So I don’t know much more to say about that than I’ve been wearing the mask and still caught COVID-19.”

Q&A: Any Changes to Seating During the Board of Supes Meetings

As GV Wire℠ Senior Reporter David Taub points out, the Supervisors have not been wearing masks during their regular meetings. They’ve also been sitting in their normal seats without separating. Supervisor Sal Quintero has participated in the Board’s meetings remotely since March.

Fresno County Board of Supervisors meeting, Tuesday November 3. No masks, no plexiglass. (Courtesy/Fresno County)

GV Wire℠: Do you think it goes beyond the next several weeks? Do you think there is going to be systemic changes in the chamber itself as far as social distancing goes or face mask requirements inside? Because you guys have been sitting in the same seats the whole time, correct?”

Brandau: “You know, that’s really hard to say. I don’t know that it will go that far. I’m not sure the impact. I mean, that’s a lot of strong personalities getting together and agreeing on something. And so far, the overall consensus is to hold meetings just like always. So we have another board meeting (November 17th) that will probably be impacted. We might have to change the date. I’m not sure that’s completely up to the chairman. I’ll wait to hear his thoughts on that. He’s entirely in charge of that meeting, but I don’t know that we’ll have masks required. Most of us wear masks into the building and then we sit down like myself. I wear a mask into the building. I sit down, I take off my mask, and from then on, I don’t have a mask on and I’m probably without fudging, I’m probably about five feet away from my colleagues on each side. It’s not quite six feet – I don’t think. There’s no Plexiglas. I don’t know if there’ll be any changes made. That’ll be up to a decision by my colleagues and myself.”

Q&A: COVID-19 Messaging

GV Wire℠: Do you think your messaging with COVID-19 will change as a result of your diagnosis?”

Brandau: “Actually, my messaging changed probably about two months ago. And I could show you evidence. I mean, we even did some GV Wire℠ interviews. But so, you know, when COVID-19 came out, there was a very political and a lot of back and forth and people were using the virus to make political statements. And I got really tired of that throughout the summertime. And I really started to examining some of the things that I’d been saying about COVID-19 and things that others had been saying. So I just decided, you know, I don’t know what the heck is going on with COVID-19. I’m not a specialist. Why should I? You know what? I’m a county supervisor and a carpet cleaner. So I quit making a lot of heavy pronouncements about COVID-19, and I’ve changed my message and I probably will not change again. And here’s what it is. Steve Brandau doesn’t know that much about COVID-19, but I don’t think a lot of other people do either. And almost everybody who’s made a big, solid prediction has been wrong on both sides and every side of the COVID-19 argument. I mean, we saw a spike in numbers during extreme shutdown. Then we saw an opening and we’re seeing another spike in numbers now delayed by about a month. So all of the predictors, everybody who is making prophecies and predictions, in my opinion, I think that the virus is doing whatever it wants to do. You know, we’ve seen countries who’ve shut down the whole entire country and they’re still reaching peak numbers right now again. So I’m past the point where I feel like I’m an expert. I feel like I don’t really know that much about COVID-19, but I don’t think there’s a lot of experts out there. I think we’re all on a learning curve together. And unfortunately, that virus is you know, it’s working its way through our system as a nation and as the world. I’ve been saying another thing that I’ve been saying is that COVID-19 is fairly contagious. I’ll admit that. It’s fairly contagious. A lot of people will catch COVID-19. I don’t believe it’s that deadly. I don’t expect to die from COVID-19. You never know. I’ve got a couple of other conditions that don’t work well with the virus. But but I don’t think, you know, in general, it’s proven to me it’s not like a major killer, but it is pretty contagious. And I feel sorry for everybody and their families who’s had to deal with it.”

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