- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
California governor Gavin Newsom didn’t mince words while addressing the failings of the federal government in its response to the U.S. coronavirus outbreak on Monday.
“We have not received any ventilators in a state of 40 million to meet our needs,” he told Trevor Noah on The Daily Show‘s special Social Distancing Show. “There were 170 ventilators that went directly to L.A. County — just a couple days ago they opened the boxes and found out none of them worked.”
The anecdote (one he previously had turned to on Saturday) turned out to be an allegory for the politician’s desired response from California toward the novel coronavirus: The faulty ventilators were shipped to Silicon Valley Bloom Energy, fixed and shipped back south all within 72 hours. “We’re not waiting around for the federal government. We need more support, but at the end of the day we have to be resourceful in our mindset and our approach and use all the tools in our tool kit,” he said.
In his remaining time on The Daily Show, Newsom waded into less potentially contentious territory (President Donald Trump has recently sparred with New York governor Andrew Cuomo over the number of ventilators Cuomo has called for to help New York state). Newsom said he was grateful to the federal government for sending the USNS Mercy, a hospital ship with 1,000 beds, to Los Angeles to treat non-coronavirus patients and free up city hospital beds. “That’s the kind of thing we do count on the government for,” he said.
Newsom didn’t walk back his previous assertion that as many as 25 million Californians could catch the coronavirus by May, though the state implemented shutdowns and social distancing relatively early compared with much of the country. “The fact that we have practiced [social distancing] at scale has bought us time. But we’re not out of this by any stretch of the imagination,” he said when Noah asked if he predicted a smaller number now. Newsom pointed to the fact that California has tripled its previous number of patients in the ICU and doubled its number of patients in hospitals in the past four days. To further bolster efforts to fight the virus, Newsom’s office launched the California Health Corps on Monday, inviting health care students, professionals and recent retirees to fill out hospital medical staff.
Noah also asked the governor about an issue that has grabbed headlines in recent days: the danger that coronavirus poses to America’s prison population and staffers. So far in California, 18 prison staff members have tested positive for the virus, while four inmates have. Newsom said prisons are practicing social distancing by ending visitations and giving inmates meals in their cells; additionally, the state is looking to “fast-track” prisoners approaching their parole date and “capping” prisoners coming into the system to help clear space in institutions. Newsom added that county jails are also looking to move their population of nonviolent, non-sex offenders out more quickly. He then called on the rest of the country to “protect the folks, staff and inmates within the system.”
As for what viewers could do to help official coronavirus efforts, Newsom was succinct: “There’s nothing more potent and powerful than the tool at hand for everyone watching, and that’s practicing the physical distancing. Don’t buy for a second that we can cut the parachute before we’ve landed.”
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day