California health agency announces ‘next phase’ pandemic playbook for the United States’ most populous state on Thursday will consider the coronavirus a manageable risk “that will stay with us for a while, if not forever,” rather than a school. emergency case.
The plan, which includes measures to promote vaccines, stockpile medical supplies and launch an active attack on misinformation, will be a new chapter in the response to the coronavirus, which has infected at least one in five Californians and claimed the lives of more than 83,000 state residents.
It’s also an admission that “we’re going to live with this,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in an interview ahead of the announcement.
“We don’t deny what the hell has happened in the last two years,” he said. However, he added, “This is not like World War II, where we can have a tape parade and declare the end.”
The number of new coronavirus infections caused by the Omicron variant spike peaked in mid-January and has since declined, bringing the daily average around the end of last summer, at around 25,000 new cases per day. The easing of the rise has been seen as a signal to ease restrictions around the country.
Earlier this week, Newsom relaxed California’s indoor mask requirements for those vaccinated, and state health officials said they would review school mask regulations in the coming weeks. end of February. Los Angeles County lifted its outdoor mask-wearing rule, Disneyland and other businesses eased mask-wearing rules for vaccinated people, and music festivals Coachella and Stagecoach announced that they would not be requiring them. Attendees wear masks, get vaccinated, or take tests when the event takes place this spring.
California’s new stance on the virus, presented in a briefing by the state’s top health official, Dr. Mark Ghaly, will continue to emphasize vaccines and boosters, with the Expand immunization in schools, preparing to immunize children under 5 when they are eligible. , and a potential reassessment of vaccine claims to explain the likelihood of some natural immunity from previous infections, among other targets. Scientists have warned protect that may weaken over timeand future variations maybe it’s better to be able to get through the defenses.
Mask requirements will be loosened or tightened as required, depending on the severity and trajectory of the infection, under the new plan. Strategic stockpiles will be modernized and consolidated.
The plan will expand testing of wastewater monitoring and genome sequencing; expanding access to Covid-19 treatments; and create a special community partnership office that can send hundreds of workers into immigrant, disadvantaged, and other hard-to-reach communities to combat misinformation and provide grant access to care.
For now, the state will continue to operate under emergency authorization, the governor said, allowing health officials to move quickly if there is a new surge. But he said his goal is to clear the emergency as soon as possible.
Other priorities will include addressing worker shortages in hospitals and nursing homes, studying the impact of the virus on communities, and expanding the use of smartphone technology to alert people. people about possible exposure to the virus; and provide incentives for innovations in testing and air filtration.
Although 70% of the state’s residents are fully vaccinated, there is a long way to go to achieve “herd immunity,” a level where very few people are still vulnerable to a virus it does not. can be easily spread. Most experts assume herd immunity to coronavirus now very likely out of reach.
Statewide surveys shows that Californians generally support the governor’s pandemic policies, which have limited the number of Covid deaths per capita significantly lower than in Florida, Texas, or the United States in general.
But public patience has dwindled since Mr. Newsom announced the nation’s first stay-at-home order in 2020, starting a wave of restrictions. A local recall election, fueled by anger over the pandemic’s rules and amplified by misinformation, has put members of the far-right militia in clear control. of the Board of Supervisors in rural Shasta County. And a poll released this week of the University of California, Berkeley, Institute for Government Studies found that Mr Newsom’s overall approval rating had dropped to 48% from 64% in 2020.
“We are really worried right now,” Mr. Newsom said. “A lot of us don’t trust it. And it affects us in profound ways throughout our entire existence, not just this pandemic. “
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/18/us/california-lays-out-a-plan-to-treat-the-coronavirus-as-a-manageable-risk-not-an-emergency.html California put out a plan to treat coronavirus as a manageable risk, not an emergency.