Recent efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus have not worked in California, a Democratic state lawmaker argues, and the state should implement a fresh round of stay-at-home orders.
“It's clear that we have lost control of the coronavirus fight,” Sen. Steve Glazer says. “You don't have to look very far to see it in the numbers.”
California’s daily case counts and hospitalization rates have exploded ever since Gov. Gavin Newsom began to loosen the lockdown in May, Glazer says. On Thursday, the state reported a record 157 new deaths from the virus.
He argues additional mitigation efforts, such as a statewide mask mandate and introducing a “county monitoring list” which requires additional restrictions for counties that have elevated hospitalizations or infection rates, have not worked.
The Bay Area Democrat is proposing new lockdown orders — with exceptions for essential trips for food and health care — in counties where the 14-day rate of positive tests exceeds 2% in either that county or its neighboring counties.
It’s unclear exactly how many counties would need to shut down again under the proposal. Nearly two dozen counties are reporting test-positivity rates above 8%, including Los Angeles, Orange, Sacramento and San Joaquin. Statewide the positivity rate is 7.6%.
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the proposal.
In a statement, Newsom’s Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly defended the state’s “data-driven” reopening approach, saying the state has a commitment to “learning, adapting and adjusting” as conditions change.
“From the outset, we envisioned reopening the economy as a dimmer switch, where we toggle modifications and closures up and down to avoid large-scale surges. This is precisely what we have done,” Ghaly said. “As we look ahead, we must work together, all 40 million Californians strong, to reduce the spread of the virus in our communities.”
Glazer also proposes ending the ability for counties to request permission to open additional sectors; additional services for vulnerable populations, such as meal deliveries; and a mandatory quarantine period for people traveling into California from areas where the rate of positive tests exceeds 2%.
Asked about the impact another wave of stay-at-home orders would have on small businesses, Glazer said the economy and public health are “handcuffed together.”
“You can’t have one without the other,” he said. “No business is going to thrive unless we can kill this virus. I recognize the impacts a shelter in place has on people, but that really is the foundation for bringing our economy back.”
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