California Governor Gavin Newsom gave a significant preview of the state’s plan to loosen Covid-19 restrictions next week. Calling it an “endemic plan,” Newsom indicated it will take the state into the era when it simply lives with the disease, instead of the pandemic strategy that’s been deployed to date.
While Newsom has been elusive about what the plan will look like, he offered specifics today that begin to make clear what some of its components will be. The governor said that there are “a dozen plus other considerations,” but stressed vaccination repeatedly as a measure of progress.
In terms of masking at public schools, which has been a particular pain point, he said the state is “Getting ready to announce more about our mask mandate in public schools.” He stressed that the state has spent time listening to local officials as it formulates an approach.
“We’ve been working with our education partners…everybody has strong opinions,” said Newsom. “The fundamental factor…and the reason why we are continuing to work with our local education partners is our vaccination rates are substantially lower than in our adults.”
He then went through the gap in vaccinations between the state’s younger TK-12 school-aged population and adults. The governor said that 27.5% of 5-11 year olds have received their vaccines. “That’s a substantially lower percentage,” than the rate for full vaccination in adults, which is 69%. And it’s not just kids.
“This past week,” the governor reported, “about 700,000 people got vaccinated in the state. That’s not insignificant, but it’s not where we want to be. We still have more work to do.”
That work will include getting those in underserved communities vaccinated, what he has previously called an “equity focus” as it pertains to progress.
“One of our things — a bit more of a preview into next week’s thinking and our new endemic plan — is really laying out a strategy to continue to educate, to continue to be mindful…that we still have a lot to do to close those equity gaps and deal not just with information, but the overt disinformation that continues to be perpetuated by individuals, groups, networks in this country that continue to put lives at risk.”
Newsom said toward the close of his remarks that “we still have a lot of work to do to convince people they should get vaccinated, much less boosted.”
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