Feb 16, 2021
California Gov. Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript February 16
California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a COVID-19 press conference on February 16, 2021 in Los Angeles. Read the transcript of his coronavirus briefing speech here.
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Bill Covino: (07:02)
Good morning. I’m Bill Covino. I’m the president of Cal State LA. Thank you all for being here today. And let me start by acknowledging our many distinguished guests. Governor Gavin Newsom; General Glen VanHerck, commander of the US Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command; Bob Fenton, acting [inaudible 00:07:28] county supervisor Hilda Solis; Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti; assembly member, Wendy Carrillo; representative Jimmy Gomez; and LA City Council member Kevin de León.
Bill Covino: (07:43)
It’s particularly fitting that this state and federal vaccination center is opening here on the campus of Cal State LA, a public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Starting today, it’s actually happening right behind me, communities that are among the hardest hit by the pandemic are coming here to Cal State LA for vaccinations. And this is precisely the role that the university should play during this challenging time. Standing with those at the center of the battle against COVID-19, directing our university’s resources, our innovation, our energy for the public good. Offering real solutions, reliable information, and hope to our communities at a time when they so desperately need it. Opening this site has been a massive undertaking, involving great national, state, and local partners. Cal State LA is honored to join with all of the agencies that are represented here, and we extend our special gratitude to the Biden administration and to Governor Newsom. Thank you, Governor, for your leadership and deep commitment to bringing this pandemic to an end. And everyone, welcome to Cal State LA.
Bob Fenton: (09:23)
Good morning. Let me start by thanking Governor Newsom for his partnership and leadership. Mayor Garcetti, Congressman Jimmy Gomez, and General VanHerck, who is the North Comm commander, and all the rest of the local elected leaders that are here today with us. The president’s national security strategy for the COVID-19 response and pandemic preparedness is being put to action today. We’re committed to ensuring that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one. FEMA has been asked to partnership with CDC in establishing community vaccine center sites. And we’re doing that in a number of ways. The first way is we’ve expedited assistance to all states, territories, and local governments, providing over $3.3 billion to 40 states, territories, in the last 21 days. We also providing federal equipment, supplies, and personnel to a number of sites throughout the country. Here today is the first time that we will actually be putting to work a community vaccine center that’s primarily federally supported, but state managed.
Bob Fenton: (10:44)
We’re doing this today at Oakland and here in Los Angeles. And let me just give a great thanks to CSU LA for partnering with us on this site. The criteria that we’ve looked at to establish these larger community vaccination centers, as we’re looking at high population areas among the states, but also ensuring that data drives us to the most socially vulnerable using the CDC social vulnerability index, focusing on the areas where minorities make up over 40% of the population, looking at other factors such as poverty, lack of housing, or vehicle access. FEMA’s deployed civil rights advisors to each state and to each site along with disability integration specialists, to make sure that we look out over the whole population. In addition to those factors, we’re also looking at census data and we’re also looking to expand this pilot from these two sites, here and the site in Oakland, to other sites.
Bob Fenton: (11:47)
And we’ll be working with Texas and New York next to set up additional sites there. We’ll continue to open sites across the country to have large community vaccination centers. In addition to this site here, we also have a mobile capability that will go out from this site in kind of a spoke and hub concept to make sure that we’re reaching populations most in need. We’ll be working with local elected leaders, either faith-based organizations or private non-profits, to make sure that we are reaching the most socially vulnerable communities. Through this pilot, we’ll provide personnel and vaccine above and beyond the state’s allocation, which is important. So this will not impact the state’s allocation that we’re receiving from CDC and the operation each and every week. On that note, there’s many other ways that we’re looking to quickly vaccinate the American population.
Bob Fenton: (12:46)
Last week, we started a program through the pharmacies to reach through their network. And here in California, they’re using a CVS and Rite Aid. We provided over a million doses last week throughout the United States. And next week there’ll be up to 2 million doses. We’re also providing support to skilled nursing facilities and healthcare clinics. In addition to that, one of the things that President Biden has done is set what the capability will be looking forward three weeks. And each week, since he’s come into office, that number has gone up each week. So, it has increased over time over 57% of when he first came into office. Also, an important note. DHS, the Department of Homeland Security has put out notice that we will not conduct immigration enforcement operations at or near vaccine sites and/or healthcare facilities. In closing, just want everyone to know that FEMA is committed to vaccinating everyone. We’ll do that in partnership with state and local governments as we are here today. Everyone has a role to support. Families and friends have a role to support in vaccinating. Get them registered. You can do that through the state site at myturn.california.gov, or you can phone that 833-422-4255 number for help if you can’t use the site. And lastly, please continue to be safe. Wear a mask, practice social distancing, and get vaccinated. Thank you.
Glen VanHerck: (14:40)
All right. Good morning, everybody. I’m General Glen VanHerck. I’m the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command, commonly referred to as NORTHCOM and NORAD. Thanks everybody for being here. To the Governor, to the mayor, state, local leaders. Thank you so much for allowing us to be here and being part of this opportunity that we have today. I’d like to say it’s an honor, actually, to be part of the nation’s first state-led federal fully supported vaccination site. I can promise you that the efforts will save American lives that we’re conducting today. My mission as the commander of NORAD and United States Northern Command is to defend North America with my NORAD hat on and defend the United States of America with my North Comm hat on, and also being prepared to provide defense support of civil authority. Those missions in my mind are incredibly noble.
Glen VanHerck: (15:43)
What we face today is a threat to the homeland. It may be a little bit of an asymmetric threat called COVID, but there’s no more sacred or noble mission than taking care of one’s family here in the homeland. And that’s what we’re actually doing here today, is taking care of folks right here. American lives and saving lives. Secretary of Defense Austin has been very, very clear. The department has capacity and capability to contribute to our homelands effort to fight COVID. That’s exactly what we’re doing, and we’ll continue providing more, as you heard acting administrator Fenton discuss, in the coming days.
Glen VanHerck: (16:19)
I’d like to tell you that we’re incredibly proud of the support that we’ve provided in just slightly over a year. That started with the United States Naval hospital ship Mercy right here in this area. That support continued, and we took lessons learned, and we embedded ourselves in your hospitals right here in Los Angeles and in California. Actually, our effort in Riverside concludes today where we’ve had a hundred spread across Los Angeles and also across California and across the rest of the nation. I can tell you that today it starts with COVID vaccination right here behind me. We’re here for the long haul. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve done. We’re incredibly proud of what we’re doing and what we’re going to continue to do in the future to get our nation beyond COVID. Thank you so much for your sport. It’s my honor to introduce Governor Newsom.
Gavin Newsom: (17:12)
Thank you, General. Let me thank each and every one of the distinguished speakers who are about to come up, I want to thank mayor, in particular, for his incredible stewardship and support of not only this effort, but efforts throughout this region. Hilda Solis, president of the LA County Board of Supervisors and invaluable partner. But in particular, let me just thank [inaudible 00:17:40] general. Let me thank the Biden administration. The Biden administration gets it, and they’re getting it done. This is one of two sites now here in the State of California, operational. Beginning today, as Bob said, with roughly 3,000 vaccines here in Southern California. 3,000 vaccines in Northern California. By the end of the week, we will double that. 6,000 here, 6,000-
Gavin Newsom: (18:03)
… end of the week, we will double that. 6,000 here, 6,000 in Northern California Alameda County. This is a framework of focus, not just on efficiency, not just speed, but on the issue of equity. That’s what brings us here today. Not just the spirit, not just the platitude of this being a north star. This is what this site is all about. It’s proximate to a community that has been disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.
Gavin Newsom: (18:27)
The effort here is to address that issue forthrightly. We have the responsibility, we have an… Number of months. In the next number of months, there is the proverbial light… talk about that just briefly. It’s an important fact.
Gavin Newsom: (19:05)
One month ago today on January 16th, this state reported 11.4% positivity rate. Today, it’s down to 3.5% positivity. One month ago today on January 16th, we reported 40,600 cases of COVID 19. Today 5,600 cases. 40,600 down to 5,600. Two weeks, 39% reduction in the number of people hospitalized. 32% reduction in the number of people in our ICU. We have seen vaccination rate increase. There are only seven jurisdictions in the world that have administered more doses of the vaccine than the state of California. Some 6.3 million doses of the vaccine have now been administered here in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (19:56)
We recognize we have more work to do. The issue at the end of the day is supply. We need more Moderna vaccine, more Pfizer vaccine. We need to get the federal approval of the J&J vaccine. We need to provide an ample supply so we can plan not just two to three weeks out, but over the course of the next few months, till we get to the proverbial space we’re all looking forward to. Not that long from now and that’s to herd immunity.
Gavin Newsom: (20:25)
The good news, parts of the state are already beginning to open back up. Business is already starting to take shape, modified nonetheless. We’re working hard to get our kids back in school. It is a priority to get our kids safely back in school, particularly our kindergartners up to sixth grade. We can do that and we are deeply grateful to the CDC and the guidelines they just put out and the work that Biden administration is helping to advance that cause.
Gavin Newsom: (20:54)
I want to just thank all of members of the military, the Air Force and the Army, our own National Guard, 150 strong led by General Baldwin who’s here with us. The Office of Emergency Services led by Mark Ghilarducci is here with us. Incredible partnerships with HHS, our secretary Mark Ghaly, Who’s here with us as well, working in partnership hand-in-hand with local government officials, working with the federal partners to build a logistics operation and an operation that goes where people are.
Gavin Newsom: (21:24)
And I think the most important thing you just heard from both the general and Bob Fenton is that this site will have satellite sites. We’ll have a mobile unit that goes into the community, meets people where they are. Not everyone can sign up on My Turn. And by the way, if you want to sign up for vaccination at the site, you can go to My Turn, fill out the application, get notified and get a date [inaudible 00:21:51].
Gavin Newsom: (21:51)
But for those… You can use that (833) 422-4255 number. (833) 422-4255. We’re going to do more and better to reach out to those that aren’t even getting that information, don’t even have to have access to a landline. And we’re working with community-based organizations, 110, that we’ve now invested in, in the last few weeks. We’ll be announcing more partnerships, CBOs in Ventura County, in LA County, later this week 150 CBOs strong focusing on trusted messenger status to make sure that we are in language, culturally competent, bottom up in terms of our frame and our effort. Again, focusing not just on speed, but delivering on the promise of promotion of equity.
Gavin Newsom: (22:45)
We put out a dashboard showing that we’re not where we need to be, African-American community in terms of other Latino community, we have a special obligation to do more and that’s exactly again, what this site represents and what the site in Northern California represents. Let me just close again, expression of gratitude and appreciation, but also I’ll close with an expression of expression that the best is yet to come now with the dashboard of not only looking more transparency at a provided network, looking at performance. We now have a new third-party agreement. That’s actually going to pay for performance. That’s going to incentivize better performance. That’s going to create a contextual obligation. So people are getting these doses out of their freezer and into people’s arms. It starts here with Pfizer, 21 days. We’ll get those vaccines into people’s arms for the second doses, but we clearly have more work to do to hold our provider network, which by the way, is roughly 3,500 strong accountable to actually delivering and getting an efficient equitably focused effort to get these administration of these vaccines quickly into people’s arms. So more work to do in that space, but a lot of good work that’s been done that will advance that cause.
Gavin Newsom: (24:06)
Final point, none of these vaccines come from the state allocation. None of the vaccines in Alameda County come from the state allocation. This is separate and above. This doesn’t impact our pharmacy partnership. Those are separate and above, or the community clinics where we’re investing time and energy and the Biden administration’s prioritize. Those are separate and above. We are looking for 1.28 million doses of the vaccine by the end of this week, 1.31 million doses of the vaccine by next week. We’re administering, at least as of yesterday, averaging 201,000 doses a day. Do the math. Supply is the issue. That’s the constraint, but we are in closing building a system like the one the mayor and the supervisor’s, council member de Leon, Congressman Gomez, and [inaudible 00:25:03] all have been promoting building out a system whose only constraint is supply. So when the spicket of supply turns back on with J&J and more Moderna and more Pfizer, that we have no limitations in terms of how we’ve organized the logistics and the network operation, the data and the transparency.
Gavin Newsom: (25:24)
So that’s what this represents, what Dodger Stadium represents. It’s what all of those other large mass sites represent. But also again, these mobile efforts, meeting people where they are going into [inaudible 00:25:39] communities, and that’s the message we want to deliver today. And we’re delivering it because of a new administration, Biden administration and they’re demonstrable leadership. And for that, we close as we began by thanking the president for his commitment and his resolve to get these vaccines in the arms of our most vulnerable members of our community. Thank you very much.
Gavin Newsom: (26:05)
And with that, let me introduce the president of the LA County board of supervisors, extraordinary partner and someone that’s working hand in glove with the 88 cities in her county, and that’s president Hilda Selis.
Hilda Selis: (26:28)
Thank you, Eric. Good morning, everyone. I’m chair representing the Los Angeles County board of supervisors, and I have the distinction and honor to also represent this great campus here at Cal State Los Angeles. I’m so pleased and honored to be here today to join LA President Bill Covino, our very own governor Gavin Newsom, Mr. Robert Fenton of FEMA, as well as our colleagues, our distinguished mayor, Eric Garcetti, council member Kevin de Leon, assembly member Wendy Carillo, Congress member Jimmy Gomez. And we’re here today to launch the Cal State LA vaccination site, a site that will mark the end of this pandemic. I want to thank Governor Newsom and President Biden for their partnership and quick work to launch this vaccination site.
Hilda Selis: (27:20)
It was almost a year ago when I joined Cal State LA in conjunction with Gavin Newsom to launch COVID 19 testing here on this campus in partnership with our state. We chose the site again today for the very same reason we’re here now. Because Cal State LA and the team that composes it are trusted partners and represent the fabric of the ea.
Hilda Selis: (27:46)
st side of Los Angeles. From the beginning of the pandemic, I have partnered with them on COVID-19 testing, various food distributions, flu vaccine events, and now they will help close out that dark chapter by vaccinating people in our communities. The surrounding area of this campus, which includes nearby Boyle Heights, the community of City Terrace, public housing of Ramona Gardens has been hard hit by this pandemic. Both Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles has experienced a case rate of almost 20,000 per 100,000 residents that compares to the countywide case rate of approximately 11,200 per 100,000 residents. In January at the height of our surge, people living in the most vulnerable communities were averaging about 36 deaths per day out of 100,000 residents. But by contrast, those in more affluent areas were experiencing only about 10 deaths per day, per 100,000 residents.
Hilda Selis: (28:52)
Around the same time our Latinx residents were dying at eight times the rate they once did from three and nearly half daily deaths per 100,000 in November to 28 deaths a day in January for every 100,000. Although deaths are lower as our cases and hospitalizations, our mission with this vaccine is to curb these numbers and the disparities that exist by getting more people vaccinated. So it’s clear that equity is driving the decision to place the vaccine site here at Cal State LA. To date, almost 38% of LA County residents, 65 and older have received at least their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. This is so important given that age is one of the main factors that leads to hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19. But we and you know we have a long way to go. Although Los County has administered over 1.35 million doses to almost 400 vaccination sites in initial data, DPH released last week, we saw that equity continues to be our guidepost, our north star. And for those 65 and older that have received the vaccine, only 20% are African-American and 26% are Latinx. Although we’re seeing the beginnings of this progress, I want to underscore that it’s not enough just to have a vaccine site in a hard pressed community. The hard work is making sure that the surrounding communities have access to this site and that we also meet them where the need is greatest. And that is why it’s so incredibly important that there will be two mobile sites that will go out into our communities. I can’t thank the administrations, both the Biden, as well as Gavin Newsom’s for making this happen. And for working with all of us.
Hilda Selis: (30:54)
We’re working hard to make sure that transit isn’t prohibitive for people who can’t make it here because they don’t own a car or because they are disabled. So Metro services, Metro Lincoln, and other transport partners will be helping us to bridge that gap.
Hilda Selis: (31:09)
So again, in closing on an English note, before I transitioned to Spanish quickly, remember to wash your hands, to double mask where you can, to keep your distance. And even though you got your first vaccine, know that we are going to work very hard to get that second dose to you as well.
Hilda Selis: (31:28)
Now in Spanish. [foreign language 00:31:29].
Hilda Selis: (31:29)
Now Assemblywoman Carillo… Or I’m sorry. The mayor.
Eric Garcetti: (33:54)
I was just here as the designated sprayer, but I guess I get a chance to speak too. Good afternoon or good morning everybody. And I will try to be quite brief because I know we have a big lineup, but let me just start with the thanks that we need to have starting at the very top. With this administration while Joe Biden may not be here physically, he certainly is here. He and Vice President Harris have shown their commitment and through Bob Fenton, a great friend of the Western United States of California and somebody who is now bringing that leadership to the nation, I want to thank him and his team. He’s back there, very smartly, for the great work that they are doing. We’ve seen that time and again on homelessness. We’ve seen that in this pandemic on feeding our seniors. Now we’re seeing it on getting vaccines out there.
Eric Garcetti: (34:39)
And I couldn’t ask for a better dream team. And I’m not just saying that because that’s what politicians do. This team here gets this issue. We understand it because it’s in our bones. It’s in our families. It’s in our work. My family, both the Mexican and Jewish sides grew up here in Boyle Heights. This was the gateway to America for them. This was their community. This was a place where they found their dream. And yet too many people are living a nightmare, not just of this year of the loss, of the death, of the suffering, of the hospitalizations, of the economic devastation as well, but they’re living that fear right now, will I ever get my turn?
Eric Garcetti: (35:20)
And today what the state of California, through our great governor Gavin Newsom, through our legislator, Wendy Carillo, who is here, through the federal government also, and I’m going to get to Jimmy Gomez in a second, are saying that we will put our feet on the ground in a community that has seen this burn like a fire. We have families we’ve talked to where you call the husband to say, I’m sorry about your son. Please pass on your condolences to your wife. And he says, “She’s just died too. Families where two, three, even one where six members of a family died. We might say things are getting better, and I agree with the governor, it is so much better today.
Eric Garcetti: (36:03)
… might say things are getting better, and I agree with the governor. It is so much better today than it was just a month ago. But even this level today in Los Angeles is triple, quadruple what it was at our lowest point in this pandemic. And I want to thank our [inaudible 00:36:17] Hilda Solis because you can’t find a border between the City and the County when it’s coming to testing, vaccines and the work that we’re doing on equity.
Eric Garcetti: (36:24)
So, my message is two things today. One, equity. We need to get this vaccine to those people who are dying and we need to get it to them quickly. That’s why these mobile teams, and we are proud to work with our federal counterparts and state counterparts, to look at Dodger Stadium, to look at our walkup sites, to look at our mobile teams that the County and the City has. Because you see those statistics, and you’re right Governor and you’re right Supervisor, the statistics we can not be satisfied with.
Eric Garcetti: (36:50)
With 3.5% of vaccines are going to Black Angelenos, that’s not an acceptable number. But when you look at the mobile clinics that we have in South Los Angeles, where 90% are going to people of color, Black and Brown communities that are hardest hit, we know we can get this done. Second is capacity. We, right, now are at a place where we don’t have enough vaccine, and you’ve heard me speak very passionately about this, enough not vaccine for the demand.
Eric Garcetti: (37:15)
In about a month or two that will flip. And we will have more vaccine than capacity if places don’t build. And what the federal government has said, what President Biden has said, what his COVID team has said, we will be ready. What the County has said, building sites throughout this County, is we will be ready. And I want you to know that the City of Los Angeles, through our fire department and our partners with CORE will be ready. We right now could do 150,000 doses a day. I told you last week, give us the supply we’ll be done by July. And we still mean that.
Eric Garcetti: (37:49)
But my third point is with equity and with supply is we all have to make sure that we bring people here. And I know Supervisor Solice and I are focused on that ride to the vaccines. For folks that are out there, give a neighbor who doesn’t have transportation a ride here. There’s no better thing you could do. Metro, Los Angeles Department of Transportation working with private sector partners and access, are working on making sure there are rides so that people can get here for their vaccines.
Eric Garcetti: (38:18)
So, that’s all I have to say. I want to thank the general as well for being here. It means a lot to have a four-star here to have somebody who has been entrusted, not only with Northern command, but who has stood up and representing the men and women who right now are in camouflage in a city maybe they’re not from, who always answer the call. As a veteran myself, I want to salute them. I want to thank them. I want to say you are the ones who are angels in the City of Angels here today.
Eric Garcetti: (39:11)
[Spanish 00:39:11] So with that, let me pass it over Wendy Carrillo, a great assembly member and an amazing representative of this area.
Wendy Carrillo: (39:31)
Good morning. Welcome to Cal State LA, home on the Golden Eagles. There is an old expression that every [inaudible 00:39:39] non-Spanish speakers as well. [Spanish 00:39:42] Tell me who you’re with and I’ll tell you who you are.
Wendy Carrillo: (39:46)
Today, I’m proud to stand with President Biden, Governor Newsom, FEMA, Cal OES, the leaders, educators, and health professionals who represent California. Who represent California State University, Los Angeles and the proud members of this community of essential workers, elders, and diverse families that jointly run and will be beneficiaries of this endeavor that we have here of a COVID-19 vaccination site.
Wendy Carrillo: (40:13)
My family, like so many of the families that I represent in Assembly District 51, has been impacted by COVID-19. My family and I are immigrants to this country, to Los Angeles. We made our home in the heart of Boyle Heights and City Terrace. I am a formerly undocumented child who grew up just around the corner of Cal State LA and was the first in my family to graduate from this institution.
Wendy Carrillo: (40:39)
My two younger sisters have graduated from Cal State LA. Cal State LA is home. We are first-generation Americans. Both of my parents are essential workers. I worry about their safety every day. Just like I worry about the safety of our grocery store workers, our janitors, our home care providers, our childcare providers, bus drivers, and delivery drivers, restaurant workers, monolingual Spanish speakers, hardworking immigrant working class essential and frontline workers who take public transit and risk their lives every day so that the rest of us, the rest of the Angelenos of this county and this city can stay home, can quarantine and be safe.
Wendy Carrillo: (41:27)
Not everyone has that luxury. We can and should do more to address the inequities that exist that many of us already knew and have personally lived. Everyone’s life has been impacted by this virus. Too many lives have been lost. There isn’t a single person in this community and in this space right now who isn’t counting on us to get it right. To inoculate our neighbors, protect our most vulnerable residents and combat the misinformation putting our loved ones at risk. The importance of this vaccine and this vaccination side cannot be overstated. Equity is critical. It is not merely rhetorical. It is not trivial. It is not optional. President Biden and Governor Newsom have both committed to ensuring that communities of color, Latinos and low income communities, have access to the COVID-19 vaccine. During his time as coach of the Lakers, Phil Jackson used to say, “If the strength of each team is its individual members, then the strength of each member is their team.”
Wendy Carrillo: (42:36)
There are over 1.70 million documented COVID-19 positive cases and over 19,000 COVID 19 related deaths in Los Angeles County making us ground zero in California. We can’t beat COVID-19 in California unless we vaccinate Los Angeles County. We can’t vaccinate Los Angeles County without a strong team made up of the folks that you see here today. We cannot do this without the leadership or support of healthcare providers, senior centers, schools, churches, and community based organizations. And people just like you.
Wendy Carrillo: (43:15)
Everyone who is skeptical or afraid needs to know that the vaccine is safe and effective. Everyone who is confused and unsure if they can get the vaccine without insurance, without internet access, a smartphone, a car, documentation, legal status, or the ability to read and write in English needs to know that vaccination centers like Cal State LA are safe and they are accessible.
Wendy Carrillo: (43:41)
I ask for your partnership and ensuring that we are successful in inoculating our neighbors, protecting our community’s most vulnerable residents, and combating the misinformation that has put our loved ones at risk. Thank you for your willingness to help keep our loved ones and our neighborhoods safe. But we have a lot of work to do. [Spanish 00:44:01]
Jimmy Gomez: (49:05)
Thank you, Mr. Mayor. I’m Congressman Jimmy Gomez, I represent the 34th Congressional District and I’m also on the House Ways and Means committee and I’m Vice Chair of the Oversight and Government Reform committee. But as somebody who flies to DC almost every other week on a plane, I’m pretty good. I have a huge protection against COVID now being as a person that’s been traveling every single day. I want to say that this is a big deal, to open up this site on the East side of Los Angeles. In a community that has been disproportionally impacted by COVID when it comes to infection rates, when it comes to death rates, when it comes to just access to healthcare, this is a big deal. And as somebody who’s been fighting this issue since the beginning of the pandemic, I can tell you for certain that it’s a huge difference when you have a President in the White House that cares about equity. A president who put a team to focus on equity when it comes to the distribution of vaccines, that is a big deal. So we have a great leader who’s going to help us make sure that we can tackle this pandemic.
Jimmy Gomez: (50:18)
But this pandemic must be tackled by not just the federal government, but by the state leadership. We have Gavin Newsom who’s doing a great job. We have Eric Garcetti, Hilda Solice, Kevin de Leon and Wendy Carillo. Because it is a team effort. I also want to thank the acting FEMA director for making sure that this was one of the sites. And I want to thank the National Guard who is here.
Jimmy Gomez: (50:42)
As somebody who was in the gallery on January 6, I can tell you that the National Guard is an institution that not only do our communities rely on in situations like this, but our democracy relies on when it’s on the tip of a precipice of going over. So I just want to say to all the National Guardsmen and all the troops here, thank you so much.
Jimmy Gomez: (51:06)
But this pandemic is not over. This is not even the beginning of the end, right? So we still have a lot of work to do. We are putting together a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package with $1,400 going to people who are struggling to make ends meet. Fourteen billion for vaccine purchases, 46 billion for testing, tracing and mitigation and 25 billion to address health disparities.
Jimmy Gomez: (51:37)
So this is just the beginning of this battle, because with only about 5, 6 million people in California with their first shots, we still have a long ways to go. But I agree with the mayor that this is personal. This is personal for a lot of us. Because we seen the devastation in our communities. When we see the Latino death rate increase 1000% since November, we should all be disgusted and offended and appalled, and we should be doing something about it, which we are.
Jimmy Gomez: (52:12)
We’re going to go into those communities that are hardest to reach. As somebody who parents are from Mexico, never really spoke English, I can tell you for a fact it’s often the kids even if they’re only five or six or eight who are translating for the parents. That’s the kind of barriers we have to a true equitable healthcare system. Language, wifi, broadband, cell phones, all that is preventing us from getting it out. But I know California is doing a lot better job than other states, but we have a lot more to do.
Jimmy Gomez: (52:50)
We need to make sure that we go into those communities like the City of LA has said, and we’re going to make a difference. We’re going to win this fight. But history will determine not only if we won the fight against COVID-19, but how the people with the least, the ones that were disproportionately impacted, how they fared. And I know that we will not fail this test if we all work together. With that, I yield back and I introduced my good friend, the LA City Council member, Kevin de Leon.
Kevin de Leon: (53:28)
Thank you very much, Congressman Jimmy Gomez. I’m going to close this out, if there’s any Q & A, obviously the Comms Operation will run that. But I wanted to give you a very special thank you to our President of Cal State LA Robert Covino for hosting us here today, as well as hosting FEMA and the State of California on the wonderful campus of Cal State LA. A very special thank you to Bob Fenton, the Acting Director for FEMA representing our president, Joe Biden. I want to recognize Mark Ghaly, our Secretary of Health and Human Services. As well as [inaudible 00:54:03] Mayor Eric-
Kevin de Leon: (54:03)
Secretary of health and human services, as well as Congressman Eric Garcetti, [inaudible 00:54:04], our supervisor, [inaudible 00:54:06] as well, and a very, very special thank you to our governor, no other than Gavin Newsom because it is this partnership between the state of California and the federal government with Joe Biden that makes us come to reality. This is a very unique mega center. It’s one of the largest in the state, if not in the entire country, I want to underscore a couple of points that Governor Gavin Newsom just articulated a few moments ago. The supply for the vaccines is separate from that of the state of California. So they’re not cannibalizing on the same supply so that’s very, very important to understand.
Kevin de Leon: (54:45)
Two points I want to make. It is about equity and we need to make sure that those communities, as Jimmy Gomez just mentioned a few moments ago, that are disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus, either infection or mortality get access now, not tomorrow or the next day or the next year to the vaccine, and that’s why with this operation with Governor Gavin Newsom, the mobile sites that will be mobilized this Thursday, just in a couple of days in communities such as Boyle Heights, in the community such as East LA and South LA and elsewhere, are going to be a godsend. Everyone here today has been touched by the Coronavirus, either we know someone, a family member, a loved one, a neighbor who has been infected, or we know someone who has died.
Kevin de Leon: (55:32)
And that’s why these mobile sites will be absolutely critical for our neighbors. So I want to thank, very special thank you on behalf of all of the constituents from CD-14, the very district that we’re in today, thank you, Governor Gavin Newsom for your stellar leadership on this issue. It’s not been easy. Who would have ever thought that we would have had a global pandemic hit California, and if LA is ground zero or if I was to say, if LA is the epicenter for COVID-19, then CD-14, the district that we’re in today is ground zero for infection and mortality rates. So thank you very much, Governor Gavin Newsom. Thank you for your leadership. Thank you.
Speaker 1: (56:10)
All right. At this time, we’ll take questions.
Laura Nelson: (56:19)
Hi there. I’m Laura Nelson from the LA Times, and this question is about vaccine supply. I’m hoping one or more of you can address what some of the specific barriers are to increasing vaccine supply across the country, if it’s staffing, supply, factory facilities, whatever those reasons may be, and secondly, is the state of California now getting the three week look ahead for doses that was promised by the Biden administration?
Gavin Newsom: (56:45)
I referenced a moment ago, the next two weeks… Let me be more specific. We’re given visibility three weeks in advance every Tuesday morning, 8:00 AM West Coast time. We are on a conference call with governors across this country, including this morning. We, in the last two weeks, have received 1.08 million vaccines. This week, we’ll receive 1.28 million vaccines. Next week, 1.31 million doses of vaccines. So from little over a million to 1.3 million is the visibility to move forward. Here’s the constraint, manufactured supply. There’s simply not enough doses being manufactured from Moderna and Pfizer. J&J, we hope to get the emergency use authorization at the end of this month.
Gavin Newsom: (57:37)
That’s a single dose regimen. So it’s 21 days for the vaccine that’s being administered here, Pfizer, 28 for Moderna. J&J is a game changer, but those supplies won’t come at scale until roughly June, July, and so over the course of the next number of weeks, supply is limited. We’re doing over 200,000 doses a day, 1.4 million last week. We received less than 1.1 million. You could start doing the math and that’s why inevitably, people ask, well, you have all of these large sites. Now you have to throttle back.
Gavin Newsom: (58:15)
While that’s true, again, the only limitation being supply as the mayor said a moment ago, and this is really an important point to emphasize. We’re building the infrastructure where the only constraint is supply, but when the supply is ample, then we’re able to move aggressively and quickly, and that’s why it’s so important. Their leadership here in LA, this leadership, Dodger Stadium and elsewhere that we’re building out that logistical operation, even if it’s not operational at a hundred percent just yet.
Speaker 2: (59:01)
Most or even all of the state might be out of the purple tier by the first of spring.
Gavin Newsom: (59:08)
Look, it’s one thing I’ve learned is be careful how you… Well, it’s hard to predict the future, particularly with this virus, but notably with consideration of the mutations, with considerations in mind of the variants, just a brief update on the variants. We have 189 UK variants that we’ve sequenced here in the state of California to South African variants in Alameda, Santa Clara County, no Brazilian variants, but over 1800, 1,834 West Coast variants, something not a lot of folks that paid much attention to. Those mutations, those variants are a caveat to my answering your question with affirmation, meaning the answer is yes, based trend lines, 3.5% seven day positivity rate.
Gavin Newsom: (01:00:01)
Remember, we were at 11.4% a month ago, 3.5% seven day. We have one, County Plumas pursuant to your question that’s moving out a purple into the red tier today. I anticipate substantial number next week and even more in the subsequent weeks, and so if the trend lines continue, then I think indeed, that is the case. We’ll see counties move, not just from purple to red, but more and more red to orange, and I anticipate based on the number that are already in orange, you’ll see many more in that yellow tier as well, which is the most permissive of the tiers we put out 24 weeks ago in our blueprint for a safer reopening.
Kris Ankarlo: (01:00:48)
Governor Newsom, Kris Ankarlo with KFI news. A couple of questions about education. Number one, I know at the end of last week, there was some talk about a possible deal with the legislature. Just looking for the latest on that, and number two, it seems as though there’s more synchronicity with the federal government right now, the CDC with its new guidelines at the end of last week, Austin Buettner coming out yesterday and saying that there’s a lack of cohesion between the federal guidelines and the state guidelines. Just wondering if there’s consideration to bring those more into alignment.
Gavin Newsom: (01:01:16)
Well, they’re remarkably aligned and so respecting those comments, we were very proud that California’s guidelines were as consistent as they were with the CDC guidelines. We’re working with the legislature to close those gaps and address some of the nuances, but I’m very proud of that work that we’ve done hand in glove with the Biden administration, CDC to understand where they’re going and try to direct a framework that we put out in December and provided to the legislature to safely reopen our schools. I want to get our schools reopened. Let me repeat that. We need to get our schools safely reopened for kindergarten to sixth grade. We can do that safely. We put out a framework, we put out a plan, we put up $6.6 billion for the legislature to consider for an early action.
Gavin Newsom: (01:02:04)
We are making progress and it is stubborn, the negotiation, and we continue to negotiate. Tomorrow, the fruits of other negotiations will be made public as it relates to other early action, particularly supporting small business grants and other supports around what we referred to a few weeks ago as the golden state stimulus to get cash in the hands of millions of Californians. We’re making progress in terms of advancing that collaborative spirit. On schools, we still have more work to do, but we are committed to resolve that shortly, get our youngest kids, our youngest cohorts safely back in school, particularly our special needs kids, kids that are homeless, foster kids. This, if you care about equity, this is the issue that should define our frame of emphasis, focus, and energy.
Josh Haskell: (01:02:56)
Thanks governor. Josh Haskell, ABC7 Eyewitness News. You’ve talked a lot about supply being the issue, but there’s been reports of widespread data issues in California, software problems that have caused issues keeping track of how many doses are available at one time. When you’re not getting the supply you need, and then you have these issues what’s being done to fix that problem, and when can counties expect to receive information on when and how blue shield will get involved with vaccine distribution?
Gavin Newsom: (01:03:22)
They can go to COVID19.ca.gov. Go to COVID19.ca.gov. You can read the contract. You can see the terms of the contract, every contract related to COVID since the beginning of this pandemic is on that site, including the third-party agreement, as you refer to it as the blue shield agreement. That went into effect yesterday. It will be implemented over the course of the next number of weeks. It’s all around transparency. It’s all about data mining. It’s all about analytics. It’s about performance payments measurements. It’s about working hand in glove, not just with the counties, but working with our provider network. We identified about 1100 providers that are the most essential in terms of advancing our efforts. I, a moment ago, referenced over 3,500 that are in the system, 1100 plus that are the most active. We’ll be streamlining that and all of that information, again, is available on the COVID19.ca.gov website.
Speaker 3: (01:04:20)
Hi Mayor. I’m with the CBS station here locally. I’m wondering what you would like to say to counties who say they want to opt out of the contract with blue shield because they feel like they have made huge investments to ramp up vaccination and they want to see what the mayor just said right now, which is give us the vaccines locally and we’ll be done by July. Why add this extra layer and why add another bill to the taxpayers?
Gavin Newsom: (01:04:47)
Well, we need to do better and do more for a more efficient distribution speed and equity and transparency with vaccines. You have a lot of counties doing extraordinary work, you have a lot of counties that are models for not only the state, but this nation. You have a lot of counties that are falling short. So the answer to your question is we are many parts, but one body, 58 counties, 470 plus cities. Cities have issues with counties, counties with state, state across this country with supply constraints, federal issues, and the like, and so we’re trying to streamline that.
Gavin Newsom: (01:05:20)
We’re trying to organize that. We created a new platform, more familiar to you here in LA called MyTurn. Been piloted here in LA first. Thank you, mayor, and thank you to the supervisor. Also, I want to thank San Diego for their work, early pilot. Now we’re launching MyTurn statewide and we’ve got the overwhelming majority of counties that have come in on the third party agreement and with this new application, and we think that’s very encouraging.
Eric Garcetti: (01:05:53)
I know there’s organized questions. If there’s any questions for administrator or Fenton or general, van Herc, are there any because they need to go to a meeting? Just want to check. Anything specifically for them? No. There are? Okay. Sorry, I can’t hear you, but I’m assuming you’re saying yes, but there’s not? Okay.
Max Sherwood: (01:06:23)
Thank you, governor. Max Sherwood with Spectrum News. Nation site is opening as at least five others in LA have had to close because of vaccine shortages. Who decides what vaccines go where and how will you prioritize the vaccine supply to the other sites like Dodgers Stadium that are only scheduling second doses because they don’t have enough to go around?
Gavin Newsom: (01:06:42)
Yeah. As I noted a moment ago, we are administrating statewide about 201,000 doses on an average basis. We did 1.4 million last week. We received less than 1.1 million doses last week. So our constraint is supply. In a constrained environment, those allocations, to your question, will be determined based upon the contract provisions that we put up on that COVID-19 site with the third party administrator, working hand in hand in partnership with counties like LA.
Eric Garcetti: (01:07:17)
Okay, final question.
Speaker 4: (01:07:20)
Governor, you gave a fairly upbeat assessment today of the program, talking about a light at the end of the tunnel and that the best is yet to come yet, yet if you talk with a neighbor or look at any poll, there’s a lot of dissatisfaction out there, a lot of anxiety. Some of it, as you know, directed at you. I’m just wondering, is there a disconnect between what you’re seeing and what the public is seeing, and if so, could you explain that?
Gavin Newsom: (01:07:44)
No. Look, it’s been a difficult and challenging year for all of us, and humbling for each and every person watching, parents, for folks… went through with this latest surge just a few weeks ago here in Southern California in particular only reinforced that. So it’s absolutely understandable why people may feel that way. The reason I highlighted the progress is I want people to know of this progress. 11.4% down to 3.5%, 40,000 cases down to 5,600 cases. ICU hospitalizations decompressing less than a third of where they were at peak just a few weeks ago. Let me underscore this. Death one month ago today, we reported 669 deaths. Today, 64, and I know none of us live in data or trends or in the aggregate.
Gavin Newsom: (01:08:46)
We all live with different experiences that are unique and distinctive to our own realities, but the fact is at scale, we are moving in the right direction, including in terms of the administration and doses of vaccine in terms of getting people back to work and including getting our kids back to school. So those are objective empirical truths, and I hope over the course of the next number of weeks, people absorb this different reality with more optimism, but also mindful and sober of these mutations, these variants, mindful and sober up our work to do on equity, mindful and sober on the constraints of vaccination supply, mindful and sober of the imperative to maintain our vigilance as it relates to non-pharmaceutical interventions and wearing face coverings and making sure we continue to socially and physically distance.
Gavin Newsom: (01:09:42)
Let me thank you all again very, very much, and just thank the general team, US military. Thank the Biden administration, FEMA, our own office emergency services, thank local leadership. Thank each and every volunteer that’s behind the scenes, helping support this operation at Cal State LA. I want to thank the president for opening up this site and I want to thank the chancellor for allowing this system to be one of our principal sites advancing the cause of equity, and I want to remind people, this is a site that is replicated in Northern California and I have great expectation you’re going to be seeing more and more of these all throughout the state in the coming weeks and months. Thank you everybody.