This story is from April, 22, 2020 please visit our Coronavirus section for up to date COVID-19 information.

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Doctors, scientists and government officials across the world have encouraged — even ordered — people to stay home to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Now, two doctors in Kern County are sharing a differing opinion. They say sheltering in place is doing more harm than good.

Doctors Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi of Accelerated Urgent Care refuse to wear masks outside. They say the longer people stay inside, the more their immune system drops.

They’re calling for Kern County to reopen immediately.

“If you have no symptoms, you should be able to return to work,” Erickson said Wednesday. “Are you an asymptomatic viral shedder? Maybe. But we can’t test all of humanity … the major events, the sporting events, these are nonessential. Let’s get back to those slowly. Let’s start with schools.”

Erickson said COVID-19 is similar to the flu in prevalence and death rate. His numbers, however, don’t mesh with statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the CDC, 34,200 people died from the flu during the 2018-29 season, a death rate of 0.01 percent.

So far, more than 46,000 people have died from the new coronavirus — a death rate of 5.6 percent.

Kern Public Health spokeswoman Michelle Corson responded to the doctors’ claims by saying public health officials continue to adhere to the guidance issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom regarding the stay-at-home order, and urge residents to continue to practice social distancing, frequently wash their hands and wear a mask when out in public.