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California Governor Gavin Newsom reflected on the state’s journey through the pandemic on Tuesday in a speech from Dodger Stadium.
“I think it’s important we consider where we are,” said Newsom, noting that instead of sports fans in the stands, there are now nurses in PPE safety gear.
“COVID was no one’s fault, but it quickly became everyone’s burden,” he said, adding that it magnified daily worries, such as keeping loved ones safe and feeding kids. He said that 54,395 Californians have died from COVID-19, though the death rate is one of the lowest per capita in the nation. “The positivity rate is down from 14 percent to just 2.2 percent today,” he shared.
Going forward, Newsom emphasized that every Californian will have access to the vaccine, with those most vulnerable, or with the highest risk of exposure, receiving priority. “Vaccines will save your life,” he urged. So far, CA has administered nearly 11 million vaccines, including 210,000 doses to educators.
Noting that “not every hero wears scrubs,” Newsom acknowledged parents and grocery store workers. “Your quiet bravery has created light in the darkest of times.”
The Governor explained that California trusted in science to fight the pandemic, and was the first state to institute a stay-at-home order and launch mass vaccination sites. “Today we have the most robust vaccination program in the country,” he said. “We’re bent, but not broken,” continued Newsom, emphasizing a sense of hopefulness. “I remain determined.”
He noted that during the height of the surge there were 53,000 cases a day, which eventually went down to 26,000. At this point, hospitalizations are down 80 percent since their peak. Newsom went on to say that 24 of our 58 counties are out of their most restrictive tier, while many more are poised to move out of it next week.
“I know our progress hasn’t always felt fast enough, and look, we have made mistakes,” said the Governor. “I have made mistakes. But we own them.”
He used the remainder of his speech to discuss how, when this pandemic ends, things aren’t going to go back to normal. “I think we can all agree, normal was never good enough,” he said. Over $10 billion will be invested in the infrastructure of California, including a record amount in children’s education. Meanwhile, $2 billion will go toward addressing the homeless crisis, and more than $1 billion toward fire prevention. “We’re going to beat this virus, and we’re going to realize our California dream for all,” Newsom added.
Earlier in the day it was revealed that Los Angeles move theaters could reopen as early as next week, albeit with a host of safety protocols in place and with limited capacities. The March 19 date is based on Newsom’s reopening plan, which indicates the county has moved from the purple tier to the less restrictive red tier. If the number of COVID-19 cases continue to ease, cinemas will be allowed to reopen as they have in New York.
California lifted its statewide stay-at-home order toward the end of January, allowing many businesses and restaurants to resume outdoor operations under certain guidelines.
As cases surged in mid-January, a number of top studios such as Warner Bros. and Universal resumed film and television production in Los Angeles after being on pause for much of the holidays due to health department recommendations.
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