Gavin Newsom’s premature reopening risks lives, safety of California residents


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Despite high case numbers, low ICU bed availability and dismally slow vaccine rollout, California Governor Gavin Newsom cancelled the state’s stay at home order.

Delilah Brumer

COVID-19 cases are sky-high across California and the vaccine roll-out is dismally slow, yet Governor Gavin Newsom irresponsibly lifted the statewide stay-at-home order.

“Today, we can lay claim to starting to see some real light at the end of the tunnel as it relates to case numbers,” Newsom said in a press conference Jan. 25.

Newsom’s statement ignored the fact that California faces dire conditions. By lifting the statewide stay-at-home order, Newsom has put lives at risk. Not only was this decision reckless, it will also not solve anything in the long run.

The California COVID-19 case numbers and deaths are simply too high for this order to have been a logical idea. As of Feb. 4, the state has over 3.3 million total cases and over 42,000 deaths, according to the Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles County has recorded over 1.1 million cases and over 17,000 deaths. Additionally, public health officials are worried about the newer, more contagious strains of the virus that have been confirmed in California, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The small number of vaccinations that have been administered in California also shows just how foolish this decision was. According to the Los Angeles Times, California has only administered 3.9 million vaccines and the state’s population is over 39 million. With vaccines being distributed at such a slow rate, we clearly have a long way to go before we reach anything resembling the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Newsom’s argument in support of his decision to lift the stay-at-home order revolves around projections that COVID-19 cases will go down. One of the predictions he is using is a prediction by state health officials that the amount of available ICU beds in use will drop below 85% in the next four weeks, according to NBC News. Another issue that many have brought up in favor of the lifting of the stay-at-home order is the high amounts of people who are unemployed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Although health officials have predicted decreased virus cases and fewer ICU beds in use, we must remember that 85% capacity is still a dangerously high statistic. The use of joblessness as evidence for the lifting of the stay-at-home order is valid, but it also doesn’t take into account a tough, yet necessary question: Are jobs more important than lives?

Newsom’s decision to lift the stay-at-home order was the wrong call. We are in a pandemic and Newsom’s top priority should be keeping people safe. The stay-at-home order needs to be reinstated if cases rise again.