Archive of Peter Carpenter

Peter has written 6 article(s) for InMenlo.


With the current level of coronavirus infection in San Mateo County and the Bay Area we should all be going back to a full shelter in place. We cannot stop the virus with this rate of infection, the low rate of quick turn around testing, and minimal contact tracing.

“Is there any logical reasons for keeping Costco with cases open and closing businesses that have no cases?” you may ask. Yes – it is a risk/benefit calculation.

What is being kept open are essential business and those businesses are required to enforce mask and social distancing to minimize the risk of transmission. People have to eat but we do not have to go to the gym or to the hair salon.

The U.S. is now having one preventable death every minute. Why has that somehow become acceptable?

The evidence is clear that the more human interacting, particularly indoors, the greater the risk of infection. We can learn both from other countries/states successes and from history. Or we can continue to have more people get sick and die.

France is an excellent example of a poor start followed by a lockdown and a very careful controlled reopening with extensive testing and tracing:

“But while the outbreak occurred primarily in only two parts of France, French President Emmanuel Macron imposed a severe, nationwide lockdown on March 16. And during that lockdown, the government put extensive testing and contact tracing in place. Almost exactly two months later, France mostly reopened. And for the last two and a half months, the country has functioned in a primarily open status with around 500 new cases per day and only about 450 deaths in the last month.” Read the full story here.

The U.S. on the other hand paid the price of a patchy lockdown but received none of the benefits because the necessary and promised testing and tracing has not occurred. A blindfolded public health system cannot stop this virus.

Meanwhile a reminder: Please wear a face mask whenever you are in a public space.

Author Peter Carpenter is long-time resident of the mid-Peninsula.

Editor’s note:  The County of San Mateo remains in discussion with the state, and as of mid-afternoon Aug. 1, its status on the COVID-19 Monitoring List remains the same, without additional business closures being required.

Photo by Jitze Couperus taken at Menlo Park Farmers Market, an essential service (c) 2020

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Help your neighborhood during the COVID-19 emergency by becoming a Block Coordinator

If you are healthy, have a computer or phone, and are fit enough to walk around a block — please sign up to be a Block Coordinator (BCs) in Menlo Park. BCs are urgently needed until the COVID-19 emergency is over. To be a good BC, you mostly just need to be a good neighbor. BCs […]

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How to help your neighbors during the current shelter in place

Ask them if they need specific things like toilet paper and share what you have. Note if they fail to pick up their newspapers or put out their recycle bins and call them to see if they are ok. Offer to shop for them if they are in a vulnerable/high risk group. Hold virtual meals/happy […]

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Other ways to “stay safe” – and lighten the load on emergency responders

In addition to social distancing, we can all make a big impact on the load on our emergency responders and health care system by preventing non-Covid -19 related issues: 1. Be extra careful when driving to avoid accidents. 2. Walk facing traffic – even if there is very little traffic. 3. Move more carefully at […]

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Viewpoint: Atherton residents – let your voices be heard about town’s policies on taxation & “fiscal equity”

Editor’s note: Peter Carpenter, author of this post, is a former Director of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District (2002-2018) who lived in Atherton for 36 years before relocating to Menlo Park last year. Over five years ago, the Atherton Town Council made two incredible decisions. First, they appointed themselves as the overseers of how every […]

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Opinion: What Atherton needs to do to avoid a fire disaster

When Atherton approved, many years ago, the subdivision of the Flood Estate into the individual properties that now constitute Lindenwood a serious error was made. That subdivision approval did not include any emergency egress or access on either the North side or the East side of Lindenwood.  In the intervening years the fuel load, the […]

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