California Governor Gavin Newsom announced an eventual end date of February 28, 2023 to the COVID-19 state of emergency on Monday, stopping the statewide order just short of three years.
In late August, the Globe reported California, Washington State, and West Virginia still have Public Health States of Emergency in place indefinitely.
Since first announcing the COVID-19 state of emergency in early 2020, Newsom extended the order multiple times throughout 2020, 2021, and 2022. The initial announcement was seen as mostly a good thing with much being unknown about the virus early on, years of different masking and vaccination policies putting a severe strain on businesses in the state despite herd immunity, a drastically lowered number of cases, and new variants of the virus becoming more and more benign since the beginning of 2022, which caused more and more people to call for an end to the emergency.
Earlier this year and last, Republicans in the Assembly and Senate attempted to end Newsom’s sate of emergency, but failed because elected Democrat legislators killed every effort. However, the attempts, along with the virus rapidly declining in both cases and strength, brought more and more lawmakers and citizens to demand an end. All of this culminated on Monday, with Newsom announcing one last extension into February of next year.
In his announcement, Newsom outlined how the state would transition into the SMARTER endemic plan to help deal with future COVID cases, while maintaining that the state of emergency needs to stay in place during the upcoming holiday season just in case of any final large outbreak or unusually strong variant comes out.
“Throughout the pandemic, we’ve been guided by the science and data – moving quickly and strategically to save lives. The State of Emergency was an effective and necessary tool that we utilized to protect our state, and we wouldn’t have gotten to this point without it,” said Governor Newsom in a statement on Monday. “With the operational preparedness that we’ve built up and the measures that we’ll continue to employ moving forward, California is ready to phase out this tool.”
An end to the COVID State of Emergency
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly added, “California’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has prepared us for whatever comes next. As we move into this next phase, the infrastructure and processes we’ve invested in and built up will provide us the tools to manage any ups and downs in the future. While the threat of this virus is still real, our preparedness and collective work have helped turn this once crisis emergency into a manageable situation.”
In addition to switching over to SMARTER, the Newsom administration will push for nurses to continue administering COVID-19 treatments such as boosters, and lab workers to continue processing COVID-19 tests. Newsom’s press release also attempted to pre-empt any criticism, noting a large amount of job growth in the state (over 16% of the nations new jobs since 2021) over other states such as Texas (11.3% of the nation’s) and Florida(7.9% of the nation’s) during the same time period, California doing better than Florida and other states who were looser with COVID-19 regulations, and the state saving more lives due to the stricter controls.
Despite this, many experts have maintained that California stunted business growth, caused many to leave the state, and should have gotten out of the state of emergency months or even years ago.
“The Newsom administration right now is going ‘Hey, we’re getting out of that State of Emergency we all liked so much, and oh yeah, California did this way better than anyone else, including, lets just name some random examples, Newsom’s rivals in Texas and Florida’,” COVID-19 policy researcher Doug Zahn told the Globe on Monday. “The Newsom administration really had to put in specific timeframes and overlook a lot of critical information to make it look like they came out on top during this. We’re lucky California didn’t go ‘zero COVID’ or else we’d end up like China right now, who still has a mountain of restrictions and now a populace protesting more and more against the government.”
“They’re trying to sugar coat it and come out as the hero, but while it is good news that there is a firm end date to the state of emergency now, so many people wanted it ended sooner and we’ll be reeling through the effects of what California did for years to come. The lockdowns just didn’t work, and California’s policies hurt the state badly economically. There were huge losses in 2020, which is why Newsom is focusing on the gains in 2021 and 2022 to make it look good. But it isn’t. They messed up, and they’re trying to put positive news over that.”
“COVID-19 has not been a crisis for quite some time now. It can be argued that some of the policies saved lives, which is good, but a lot of policies had drastic consequences. Entire livelihoods were destroyed because of them. They just don’t want to admit any wrong.”
The COVID-19 state of emergency is to end in California beginning on March 1, 2023.
- SAG-AFTRA To Meet With Studios Starting Monday - September 29, 2023
- Gov. Newsom Signs New Law Raising Fast Food Minimum Wage To $20 - September 28, 2023
- Ojai, CA Becomes First U.S. City To Recognize Legal Rights Of Elephants - September 28, 2023