There are several levels to which California responded to the crisis. The state, the county, and national guidelines have differed from each other. The President has been trying to go against what California has been wanting to do.
California and the president have not had the best relationship in the past. The President has threatened to take away federal funding from The Golden State on many occasions. Including when California was dealing with it’s latest set of wildfires, he tried to withhold the funding for federal wildlife conservation. Which would have cut the California response to the fires by a significant margin.
Starting with one of the lowest levels of responses, it would be Orange County, California’s response to COVID-19. They held a town hall on March 12th, 2020 on Facebook Live. It started with a monologue from the Head Board member of The OC Healthcare agency. Facebook Live was met with some pushback from community members. One community member had a response that was very popular at the time. This member stated, “We have over 500 at our school site-as a teacher we need to CLOSE!!!!!!!!” and another stated, “Please don’t wait for a student, teacher, parent, or staff to get infected before shutting down the schools. A lot of us have elderly family members that live in the same household.” This shows how out of touch the Orange County Healthcare agency really was. They didn’t close down schools or social meetings fast enough. This also shows that the public was ready for these closures, they wanted this to happen sooner rather than later.
The agency also talked about sending out a memo to the sheriff offices to begin to start closing John Wayne Airport, large social gatherings and updating the culture of social distancing within the county. They were very behind the times compared to what Governor Newsom was introducing.
I attended Governor Newsom’s April 14th COVID19 Address Livestream on Facebook Live. This was an address that was heard throughout the whole nation, not just specifically California. His speech began by explaining his “Four-Phase Reconstruction.”
Phase One and Two were pretty similar. Phase One and Two were obviously the beginning of the COVID19 response. He advanced the order to stay home, he wanted people to Social Distance very early, which was the correct response, compared to the Orange County response.
Phase Three was also ahead of its time and a solid response to the crisis. Phase Three includes Surge needs. Which is what the hospital will need to keep the numbers of infected in check. California didn’t fail to keep up with the needs of the hospital and the public. They did this by providing masks and being able to help anyone that came to the hospital presenting symptoms. For Phase Three he brought in Dr. Angel, who has been working closely with the Governor for hospital needs. She said that California is not yet ready to get rid of Quarantine, due to Surge capacity. They also still don’t have the testing kits for widespread testing. That’s where Phase Four comes in, which was announced last night in full detail.
Phase Four is about moving from surging to suppression, Newsom wants to move into a herd immunity until a vaccine can be created. For Phase Four there are six frames of focus that Newsom wants to implement.
- Capacity to expand testing, creating real quarantine. He wants to do this through getting testing sites available, he wants it to be safe and efficient, so some type of “drive-by” testing.
- Remaining Vigilant to a vulnerable population. The vulnerable population includes the older generations and immunocompromised. This is very important since these communities will be the most affected and most likely to be killed by COVID19.
- Addressing surge needs for hospitals. This is important through being able to help California’s evergrowing population, keeping the surge of need down will help to get back to semi-normalcy.
- Continue the work of engaging academia and research partners, companies like Genentech, Stanford, USC, etc. Help for Herd Immunity. These institutions are helping the fight against COVID19 with their state of the art labs.
- Redrawing floor plans, wanting to re-open businesses and how to create a safe social distance within businesses and schools. This step will include drastic measures such as a possibility of restaurants being open, while servers would be wearing masks, gloves, and the total tables open being cut in half, all businesses requiring you to get your temperature taken at the door.
- Re-instate vigorous controls, he wants to be able to change between strict and looser views on distancing or how to create a populous that follows these plans. He wants the citizens of California to be able to follow the direction that he sends, whether staying inside or being able to live as normal as possible.
The most important thing to remember in the COVID crisis is that we are all in it together, remembering that we will get all of us through this pandemic. We are living through history right now and we need to come together and help each other as much as possible. Stay healthy.