Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Newsom Takes yet Another Course on COVID-19
By admin
Published 2 years ago on
March 2, 2022

Share

 

At some point in the future, if we have one, historians will ponder when and why COVID-19 morphed from a public health crisis into an ideological confrontation, with vaccinations and masks as symbols of political leaning and with school children as innocent pawns.

However it happened, the politicization of the pandemic continues to flavor its response. Officials insist that they are “following the science” when they impose or lift personal behavior decrees, but it’s obvious that they also are sensitive to the political effects.

On and Off Restrictions

After all, orders about vaccinations, masks, public gatherings and other pandemic-fighting tools only work if the public is willing to obey them, or at least enough to have a dampening effect on contagion. If the howls of protest are loud and widespread enough, officialdom has no choice but to back off.

Dan Walters

CalMatters

Opinion

This fact of life was demonstrated in 2020 when Gov. Gavin Newsom repeatedly issued restrictive orders, only to lift them.

When his initial shutdown orders appeared to slow infections, he boasted how California was succeeding while other states, such as New York, were being devastated. Newsom dubbed it “bending the curve” and reopened vast sections of the economy that he had shuttered only weeks before.

“We have to recognize you can’t be in a permanent state where people are locked away —for months and months and months and months on end — to see lives and livelihoods completely destroyed, without considering the health impact of those decisions as well,” Newsom rationalized.

However, when infection rates and deaths increased again in mid-year, Newsom reimposed restrictions, closing bars, making masks mandatory and banning indoor activities in counties with particularly high infection rates. He also formed “multi-agency strike teams” to crack down on “people who are thumbing their noses” at restrictions.

Latest Response Strategy

Later in the year, Newsom once again eased up, only to crack down again during a strong surge of infections during the winter of 2020-21.

The dizzying on and off sequence confused and eventually angered Californians — enough that a recall campaign aimed at ousting Newsom qualified for the ballot and looked, for a time, to have a chance of success.

Newsom is once again easing up on restrictions that had been ordered in response to the omicron strain of the disease last year. He’s adopted what he calls “SMARTER,” an acronym for policies aimed, he says, at weakening or dropping unneeded restrictions while guarding against future outbreaks.

“California’s early and decisive measures to combat COVID-19 have saved countless lives throughout the pandemic, and as the recent omicron surge made clear, we must remain prepared to quickly and effectively respond to changing conditions in real time,” Newsom said. “As we move the state’s recovery forward, we’ll continue to focus on scaling back provisions while maintaining essential testing, vaccination and health care system supports that ensure California has the needed tools and flexibility to strategically adapt our response for what lies ahead.”

Lifting of School Mask Rules Next

The state has lifted mandatory wearing of masks inside businesses and other public venues and will soon drop the mask requirement for school children — a move that has drawn protests from teachers and may not sit well with parents.

A recent poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies found that about two-thirds of voters, and of parents, support COVID-19 vaccinations of school kids and being masked during classes.

Newsom’s performance as manager of the pandemic has been, to say the least, erratic, even as he claims to have been decisive and effective. COVID-19 is still with us and still killing people, so the final verdict on his management has yet to emerge.

About the Author

Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times. For more columns by Walters, go to calmatters.org/commentary.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

DON'T MISS

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

DON'T MISS

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

DON'T MISS

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

DON'T MISS

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

DON'T MISS

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

DON'T MISS

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

DON'T MISS

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

DON'T MISS

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

DON'T MISS

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

UP NEXT

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

UP NEXT

Opinion: Likelihood of Trump Seeing the Inside of a Cell Is Increasing

UP NEXT

California Supreme Court Weighs Two Cases That Could Limit the Ballot Initiative Process

UP NEXT

Newsom Says No New Taxes, Yet His Budget Has Billions in New Levies on Businesses

UP NEXT

How the Beatles Empowered a Research Genius to Save Millions of Lives

UP NEXT

A Radical Lesson From El Salvador to Solve Fresno Housing & Homeless Crisis

UP NEXT

How California’s Bursting Budget Morphed into a $45 Billion Deficit in Just Two Years

UP NEXT

Hydrogen vs. Electric Batteries: A Case For Fresno’s Transportation & Ag Future

UP NEXT

Netanyahu’s Misguided Gaza Strategy Threatens Israel’s Future: Fareed Zakaria

UP NEXT

Opinion: How Urban Renewal Ruined Everything

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

1 day ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

2 days ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

2 days ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

2 days ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

2 days ago

Newsom Promised 1,200 Tiny Homes for Homeless Californians. How Many Are Being Used?

2 days ago

Fresno Unified Unveils 5-Year Literacy Plan. What Are the Expectations?

2 days ago

Man Sentenced to 25 Years for Teaching Bomb-Making to Person Targeting Authorities

2 days ago

UCLA Police Arrest Young Man for Alleged Felony Assault in Attack on Pro-Palestinian Encampment

2 days ago

UAW Files Objection to Mercedes Vote, Accuses Company of Intimidating Workers

2 days ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

What’s the cost of democracy in California? Sameea Kamal CalMatters If we calculate that based just on the pages informing the state’s 22...

13 hours ago

13 hours ago

The Cost to Inform California Voters? $118,000 a Page for Official Guide

13 hours ago

Top Russian Military Officials Are Being Arrested. Why Is It Happening?

13 hours ago

Delta Tunnel Water Project May Finally Be Nearing a Historic Decision

1 day ago

CA Senate Passes Hospital Seismic Compliance Bill: What’s the Impact on Local Hospitals?

2 days ago

Take This Memorial Day Quiz Before Warming up the Grill

2 days ago

Hate Wasting Money? Use These 7 Hacks to Feed Your Family for Less

2 days ago

NCAA and Leagues Back $2.8 Billion Settlement, Setting Stage for Current, Former Athletes to Be Paid

2 days ago

UC Berkeley Faces a Summer of Discontent as Gaza Protesters Remain Steadfast

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend