On Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the lockdown in California, including social distancing measures, will continue on through at least April but also possibly through mid-June.
Bending the curve
Newsom cited not relenting on the lockdown until the ‘bending the curve’ happened, meaning a tapering off of new cases and a significant amount of recovered people. The Governor has been largely in favor of a later restart date to keep people in order for hospitals to not be overwhelmed by COVID-19 coronavirus cases.
“We’re trying to bend that curve, but we haven’t bent it,” Governor Newsom said on Wednesday. “April for California would be sooner than any of the experts I talked to would believe is possible.”
Newsom’s statement came 12 hours after President Trump announced a planned April 12th ‘restart’ date, a decision of which has been praised by economists and business owners as an essential need to stave the United States off a depression or recession, but has been derided by health officials as “too soon” and could potentially cause a second wave of cases. Health officials have also advised the president to be flexible in his plans and to possibly do a slower roll out of opened areas to lower the risk of coronavirus spreading.
“I give it two weeks,” Trump said earlier in the week. “I guess by Monday or Tuesday, it’s about two weeks. We will assess at that time and give it more time if we need a little more time. We have to open this country up.”
Newsom also announced ramping up testing in California, a call for more tests and supplies and reminded younger people that the disease does affect them as well. Newsom also noted that half the current cases in California are in people under the age of 50.
“Young people can and will be impacted by this virus. In fact young people are disproportionately testing positive in California,” Newsom said. “This disease impacts everybody.”
Conflicting dates from Trump and Newsom
Both the Governor’s plans and the President’s plans clash, ending a week where both the President and the Governor saw eye to eye on issues surrounding the pandemic.
“Trump is thinking more about the economy,” said economist Helen Rider. “Right now there is a lot at risk. We passed the $2 trillion stimulus package, but that won’t mean much if business doesn’t pick back up. Airlines just narrowly avoided a collapse, and now other industries such as the energy sector and chained restaurants are looking at huge losses. His plan is to quarantine through the worst, then get back out there while taking preventive health measures.”
“Newsom is more concerned about health. He and [New York Gov. Andrew] Cuomo have both said they need more than a few weeks because of the [coronavirus] curve. There’s been a lot of deaths and high disease rates in both states and they know it. For them, with such high populations, of course it might take longer.”
“What’s probably going to happen is a hybrid. For Californians, many won’t be able to decide between Trump’s reopening date or Newsom’s, so there will be at least some reopenings while everyone takes precautions such as masks and sanitizers. We might see baseball games with players wearing masks like how they did in 1919. But the big point is that businesses will open up again, people will travel and the economy starts to pick itself up while the curve stays low.”
“That’s honestly the most likely scenario right now. But then again a week ago there wasn’t a state lockdown in California, so things may continue to change rapidly.”
As of Wednesday, neither Newsom or Trump gave any announcements about which opening date for citizens to follow, with the only thing known about reopening at this time is that it will reopen sometime between April 12th and June 15th, coronavirus rates pending.
California currently has 2,102 cases of COVID-19 statewide with 40 reported deaths, according to the California Department of Public Health.