SACRAMENTO, California – California becomes the first state to officially switch to an “endemic” approach to coronavirus with Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement on Thursday of a plan that emphasizes prevention and rapid response to outbreaks caused by mandatory concealment and business shutdowns.
Milestones, almost two years in the making.
“We are moving through the crisis phase into one where we will work to live with this virus,” he told a news conference from a state warehouse filled with supplies for the general population. translation in Fontana, east of Los Angeles.
The first-term Democrat, who last year survived a recall election by critics of his management during the pandemic, has promised the state’s nearly 40 million residents that the omicron spike fades“We’re going to keep them safe and we’ll always be at the forefront on this.”
A disease enters the endemic stage when the virus remains in the community but is controllable when immunity is established. However, the Democratic governor said there would be no definitive diversion, unlike Wednesday’s lifting of the state’s indoor mask requirements or an upcoming announcement on the 28th. February on exactly when students can stop wearing face coverings.
And there will be no immediate lifting of the dozens of emergency orders remaining that have helped run the state since Newsom imposed the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order in March 2020.
“This pandemic will not have a definite end. Newsom said.
The World Health Organization declared the outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020, and with omicron fades In many parts of the world, some countries have begun planning for endemic period. But no state has taken the step that Newsom did and offered a blueprint for the future.
Republicans regularly criticize Newsom’s handling of the coronavirus and are quick to disparage his latest effort. GOP State President Jessica Millan Patterson called it “an enormous help of the word salad” and renewed her call to “follow the lead of other blue states and end the situation.” emergency or remove the school mask duty.”
Newsom’s plan sets specific goals, such as stockpiling 75 million masks, establishing infrastructure to deliver up to 200,000 vaccinations and 500,000 tests per day in the event of an outbreak, and supplementing added 3,000 health workers within three weeks in epidemic areas.
Newsom’s management devised an acronym to abbreviate key elements of its new approach: SMARTER. The letters stand for Shots, Masks, Awareness, Ready, Testing, Education and Rx, a reference to improving COVID-19 treatments.
Dr Jeffrey Klausner, an epidemiologist at the University of Southern California, said while some might argue that this should have come sooner, he believes “the time has come”.
“Surveillance, testing, vaccination and treatment make the context very different and appropriate to shift our response from a pandemic response of trying to do everything we can, to a sensible response. than to try to do things for which we have strong evidence. ,” Klausner said.
If higher levels of the virus are detected, health officials will determine if it is a new variant. If so, state and federal officials have a 30-day goal to determine if it responds to existing tests, treatments, and immunity from vaccines or previous infections. are not.
California’s Health Secretary, Dr Mark Ghaly, said one of the goals was to avoid business closures and other far-reaching mandates. However, he said the state requirement that students be vaccinated against the coronavirus in the fall remains in effect.
The plan includes new education, including “myth videos” to combat misinformation and misinformation, and help explain the evolving prevention measures to a wider public. are confused by the protections that seem to vary by day and across county lines.
In coordination with the federal government, it calls for a country-first study of the direct and indirect impacts of the pandemic on both people and communities.
All of this will cost billions of dollars, much of which was outlined in the pandemic response package Newsom sought as part of its budget last month. That figure includes $1.9 million that lawmakers approved to ramp up staffing at hospitals and ramp up coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution, as well as existing money and federal funds. expected.
His proposed budget also includes $1.7 billion to strengthen the state’s health care workforce, with more investment in strengthening laboratory testing, data collection and outbreak investigation.
Newsom, who has faced criticism for sometimes failing to follow his own rules, defended keeping some of his law enforcement emergency orders in place, which he said recently. allowed the state to quickly bring in temporary medical staff and quickly distribute more than 13 million home testing kits to schools.
Those orders have fallen from 561 to less than 100 in recent months, he said, and his administration is working with legislative leaders to eventually make them unnecessary.