"I bulls**t you not, it is time to become serious about this COVID," said Dr. Desmond Carson, a physician and resident of Richmond, as he implored people to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash their hands in his prepared remarks during a Friday press conference.
WATCH LIST: 38 California counties where COVID-19 is getting worse
But it was during the question and answer session, when Carson was called back to the podium, that his frustration with the community and its treatment of COVID-19 boiled over.
"We had the national guard come out to stem nonviolent protesters who killed no one. We need the national guard to come out to tell these fools who don't want to wear masks, you're going to wear the mask or you're going to go home," he said.
"A grocery clerk should not have to fight a grown man to wear a mask. That's not their job. ... Our rights are going to kill us. Our rights to not wear a mask, that bulls--t is going to kill us."
VIDEO: Watch Dr. Carson's impassioned speech below
Carson also expressed his disappointment in the government's response to the pandemic, with no national shutdown. "We've had 134,000 people die in this country, but there was no response to try to stem that. ... South Korea had one, two, three, four cases. They shut the whole damn country down. Shut it down! We're out here playing."
The doctor added he was "embarrassed" by some of his colleagues in the medical field who haven't responded to the county's urgent need to treat patients.
"We took an oath. I'm embarrassed and a little pissed off to say they would not come. This white jacket means something."
VIDEO: What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
"When flu season comes, how am I going differentiate flu from corona? How am I going to do that?" he asked. "If we don't get serious, ashes, ashes, we all fall down."
Contra Costa County has been on the state's watch list since July 5. As a result, it has paused and rolled back some of its reopening.
App users: For a better experience, click here to view the story in a new window
On Mount Diablo Blvd in Lafayatte Friday evening, mask wearing compliance was good, but far from perfect.
Still, some Contra Costa County residents weren't so sure about Dr. Carson's messaging.
"I know I need to wear a mask and I try to educate people, but I don't think it's ramming it down people's throats, it's just giving them that information," said Moraga resident, Melissa Davis, who added, "we don't need the national guard coming in, we need people being positive and saying we can get past this."
Check it out kids!!— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) August 1, 2020
Want $525 for posting on social media?
15-25 year olds in Contra Costa County are eligible to apply for this new ambassador program meant to encourage good pandemic behavior... like mask wearing and social distancing. pic.twitter.com/NGFNtvrwyj
"I would encourage people to use the mask," said Dr. Jake McDowell, who lives in Lafayatte, but works at a hospital in Stockton, where he treats sick and dying COVID-19 patients every day.
But, when asked about bringing in the National Guard to enforce masks, said, "I wouldn't be that extreme about it."
Another idea that came out of the press conference was a youth ambassador program for 15-25 year olds in Contra Costa County.
"Young people receive a stipend to be trained by the health department to provide messages to their peers," said Contra Costa County Supervisor, John Gioia.
VIDEO: Richmond doctor tells off coronavirus deniers in passionate speech
Ambassadors will receive $525 to post on social media about best COVID practices, like mask wearing and social distancing.
"I wouldn't. I wouldn't even waste my time," said a 15-year-old Pittsburg resident, who is not so sure the strategy will stick.
"A lot of youngsters like me, a lot of them don't watch the news and don't look at our cases how it's like inclining. A lot of people just kind of forgot about it."
If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- Watch list: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse
- MAP: Everything that's open, forced to close in Bay Area
- Everything to know about CA's confusing reopening plan, summer shutdown and what comes next
- From salons to dinner parties: Experts rate the risk of 12 activities
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- Life after COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Experts compare face shield vs. face mask effectiveness
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic