Nov 16, 2020
California Gov. Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Press Conference Transcript November 16
California Gov. Gavin Newsom held a COVID-19 press conference on November 16. He said officials are considering a statewide curfew. Read the transcript of his coronavirus briefing speech here.
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Gavin Newsom: (07:46)
Well, good afternoon, everybody. Let me just jump right in, just addressing some of the national headlines, increasing the international headlines around daily cases increasing substantially, not just here in the state of California, but as we’ll see all across the United States of America. Daily cases, though in the state of California have doubled just in the last 10 days. This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of this pandemic. Let me underscore by showing you this graph, what I mean. Just put this in perspective, the highest rate increase that we have experienced since the beginning of this pandemic we experienced in June, you see June 15th to June 21st, we saw a one week increase of 39.2% of new cases. Compare that to the week, the first week in November, a 51.3% increase in just a one week period puts perspective the rate of increase simply without precedent in California’s pandemic history.
Gavin Newsom: (08:54)
As it relates to blueprint that we put out some 11 weeks ago, when we announced the blueprint for a safer condominium, we talked about our ability to make advances not only forward, but also move through toggling backwards. We also talked about an emergency break based upon data and based upon conditions that would provide for a framework of flexibility to tighten restrictions. We have counties now that we are moving back based on that blueprint, based upon the emergency brake, based upon the protocols that we put into place when we announced this blueprint 11 weeks ago. That will allow us to move back or for that matter to the extent we see some stability to allow us flexibility going forward, but counties to move back after one week, not just two weeks. As you may recall, we collect data, we adjudicate the data with our local health officers, with the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (09:58)
We have a two week protocol and process to do that pursuant to the announcement we’re making today. The counties will move back after one week, not two weeks. And because of significant increases that we’ve experienced and I’ll show you the map here in a moment, some counties will move multiple tiers and not just for example, yellow to orange or orange to red, you will see some examples of counties moving from orange to purple. So we will not be moving simply one tier based upon the data and the significant increases, you’ll see some jumps, multiple tiers backwards. Counties that move back also must make industry or sectorial changes urgently instead of a 72 hour wait period. We want to see the application and implementation of these new tiered status occur in a 24 hour period. By the way, we will reassess our tiered status on a multiple basis, meaning multiple times during a week.
Gavin Newsom: (11:02)
You recall based upon tradition over the course of 11 weeks, Dr. Galley follows up these Monday press conferences on Tuesday and updates the movement between counties. Today we are moving forward, not waiting for Tuesday to make announcements. Rates to those announcements last week, you saw Dr. Galley’s presentation, you saw the following map number of counties in purple 13, red counties 22, orange 17 and six counties in yellow. There was progress still being made. As you know, we’ve made tremendous progress moving forward in modifying our status. Meaning providing more flexibility pursuant to this blueprint between late August and October. We are now moving backwards, not forwards. And last week was an indication, an early indication of some movement in the well, more restrictive direction. Let me specifically tell you what I mean today, 40 counties now we’ll be moving backwards in the state.
Gavin Newsom: (12:15)
You’ll see and I’ll show you again in the original last week tiered status, you had 13 counties in purple, 22 in red. Today we have 41 counties in purple, 11 in red less in orange, yes less and yellow still. So take a look at the map, not those numbers. And you can just see all the purple all up and down the state. Again, I’ll go back so you can get a real sense of where we were just a week ago. And now again, the purple throughout the state of California represented in the tiered status update that we are announcing here today not waiting till Tuesday. Every age group, every demographic, racial, ethnic in every part of the state we are seeing case rates increase and positivity rates increase as well. No longer concentrated in just a handful of counties, we are seeing community spread broadly now throughout the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (13:18)
It’s a consequence we want to update you on preparedness for this moment, we haven’t been sitting back passively idling in fact, quite the contrary, we have been preparing precisely for this moment. We’ve been modeling this moment. We’ve been foreshadowing this moment for many, many months since the beginning of this pandemic. You’ll recall a number of search facilities that we had advanced in the midst of this pandemic and those more difficult summer months, we worked with the federal government. We worked with state regional as well as county agencies to set up sites in Fairview in Porterville up here in Sacramento at the old ARCO Sleep Train Arena. Those sites are in what we refer to the office of emergency service lingo in warm status. We are now dusting off that status and we have the ability with 11 search facilities throughout the state of California to stand them up within a day or within certainly a calendar week.
Gavin Newsom: (14:20)
We have capacity if needed and again, if needed of roughly 2000 beds, total capacity in the surge status, 1,872 to be precise. I should foreshadow the first site that will move from ORM status and we’ll start preparing. It will be down in Imperial County. So that’s just a preview over the course of the next week or so we’ll be leaning in a little bit more aggressively, specifically into Imperial county. But that’s the inventory that’s above and beyond the existing inventory, which as of today is ample. And I’ll get to that in a moment I don’t want to over, well, I don’t want to create more anxiety than is necessary at this moment.
Gavin Newsom: (15:05)
Also want to give you an update on the inventory we’ve been able to crew because of our large scale contract with BYD and others, and are simply making California efforts to find domestic California based manufacturers to provide sanitizer and face shields and gowns and the like. Our inventory is substantially greater than it’s ever been. Just take a look at the total number of N95 masks, 180 million are currently in our cash in our inventory and storage. And if you add to that over 522 million masks total, over half a billion masks now are in inventory if you include surgical mask procedure and surgical masks into that total. So you can get a sense of the preparation. You can get a sense of the effort, particularly on PPE as relates.
Gavin Newsom: (16:03)
Effort, particularly on PPE as relates to the needs of our first responders and to address all of that anxiety that we had to address and what we referred to those wild, wild West days early in this pandemic. We have not been passive. We’ve been very active at building up those supplies, including again, those search facilities throughout the state. Now, as it relates to our approach, I’ll just remind you, we had a three-pronged approach. I’m going to add the vaccine commentary as a fourth prong in a moment, talk about that, but I’ll remind you that three-pronged approach pre vaccine was around prevention, testing and isolation. And on the prevention side, I’ll just remind you, we were the first state in this country to do a stay at home order. We moved a number of months ago with a mask mandate. We’ve already distributed 600 million masks.
Gavin Newsom: (16:53)
That’s not the 500 plus million that’s in our inventory. We’ve already distributed 600 million masks. And we put out, again, 11 weeks ago, this blueprint for a safer economy with these four-tiered status strategies. The testing has significantly increased, over 21 million tests have been conducted in this state, larger number of tests than any other state in the country. Now, per capita, we are not where we want to be. And that’s why we opened that new state lab a few weeks back, which will allow us additional testing capacity at peak of about 150,000 PCR tests a day. That lab is just getting up. It will take a number of months, but it’s a flywheel. Every day, every week, more and more tests are being conducted. And over the course of the next few months, tens of thousands a day, and eventually over a 100,00, 150,000 tests a day.
Gavin Newsom: (17:50)
The test turnaround is now 24 to 48 hours, which is much better than it’s ever been. Certainly during those very difficult periods and days where we had test results coming back 13, 14, 15 days, almost making in fact, not almost, making the tests utterly irrelevant. So we’re pushing those metrics. Part of that commitment on our new lab is test results that are mandated within 48 hours, are expected within 24 hours. 140, excuse me, 164,000 average daily tests now we are conducting in the state. You’ll see in slides in a moment over 200,000 tests were conducted or at least came in to our results and our data collected yesterday.
Gavin Newsom: (18:39)
Isolation, this is profoundly important. Prevention’s one thing, testing, what’s the purpose of testing besides obviously identifying people that are positive and building a framework and protocol to protect their health, but also protect others through isolation and quarantine. One of the things we needed to do, and we were proactive is creating job protected paid sick leave. We also looked to at risk populations, you have recalled, at least those of you who’ve tuned in a number of previous presentations, substantial effort, 22,000 plus homeless individuals, 22,000 homeless individuals the Project Roomkey.
Gavin Newsom: (19:19)
We have gotten off the streets and out of congregate facilities and freeway underpasses into rooms to isolate to allow them to quarantine against the prospect of being exposed or having been exposed. We did the same with more work and support and partnerships with a number of agencies for our agricultural, as well as farm workers. We currently now are averaging 95% of all local health officers are contacting someone who’s tested positive in the same day, 95%. And that’s through the efforts at the local level primarily, and also supplemented by the partnerships that we’ve advanced through the UCLA and UCSF in our contact tracing support with a number of state employees that have been deployed to help support and augment those local County efforts.
Gavin Newsom: (20:11)
Now, with the vaccine. Bottom line is we’re moving from a marathon to a sprint. And I think this is important. This is a point of some optimism in the midst of all of this overwhelming data, not only coming from this presentation in the state of California, but obviously all across this country with increased case rates. And that is the good news that we all heard today around Moderna, this coming on the heels of Pfizer and the efficacy of their vaccine coming just shy of 95%, a bit better than the efficacy that Pfizer had announced.
Gavin Newsom: (20:48)
You’ll recall a number of weeks back. We socialize our vaccination plan. We were one of five jurisdictions working with the CDC and the department of defense working with the federal government in what we referred to as microplaning for our vaccine distribution. Rather than criticizing the administration, rather than lamenting about what could or should be done. We engaged proactively and continue to engage proactively to make sure we have a plan for safe and equitable distribution of the vaccine.
Gavin Newsom: (21:23)
And I’ll remind you the focus on equitable, the critical nature of making sure those that are most in need are prioritized in terms of the access and distribution of this vaccine. And to make sure that it is safe. And we put together experts on committees, safety committee. In fact, the Biden administration wisely took one of our safety committee advisors as part of his national COVID recovery plan, only good news for California, by the way, there were a number of other Californians brought in by the Biden administration, which only reinforce our capacity of partnership with the new administration moving forward. Experts in safety, as well as experts looking at equity and looking at the distribution from geriatric perspective and looking at distributions, again, along the spectrum of making sure black and brown communities disproportionately are benefited because of the impact they have felt disproportionately because of COVID-19.
Gavin Newsom: (22:24)
So, we’ve been preparing for that. We’ve been working and leaning in on that. That’s our four-prong approach in terms of the work we’re doing to sprint through the next number of months, until we see widespread distribution of this vaccine, not just the limited 20 or so million Americans that are likely to be vaccinated late in December. Again, those primarily will be first responders and help workers. Do the math, back of the envelope, 12%, 15-ish percent of those will be Californians. We have a long way to go to get to a vaccine that is widely distributed, but good news, nonetheless Pfizer and Moderna, by the way, those were the two companies that we were working in our microplaning to advance protocols.
Gavin Newsom: (23:13)
The good news is, pursuant to those early plans, expectations are being met. Timeline is a little bit delayed, not substantially, but the efficacy is much greater than some of our early indications suggested. So net result is, I think, some positive developments and some encouraging signs in terms of the proverbial light at the end of this very long, dark tunnel.
Gavin Newsom: (23:42)
As it relates to, again, this community spread and the current tiered status. I want to just turn it back over, or rather turn it over to Dr. Ghaly, to talk a little bit more in specific terms about some of the County movement and what’s been occurring. He’ll turn it back over to me. I’ll update you on the total case numbers and compare and contrast a little bit about what’s happening across the rest of the country. And then we’ll get to some other specific comments and announcements and then questions in just a moment, Dr. Ghaly.
Dr. Ghaly: (24:21)
Thanks, Governor. I just want to take a moment before I present a little bit more about where we are with the tiers today and some important reminders about what’s ahead, just to say, just three weeks ago we were talking about how we only had nine counties in purple and many of you, together with your neighbors and communities, did a tremendous job to get transmission down. And all of those same approaches are going to carry us through the weeks to come. Today, though, this move of now 41 counties in total in purple tells us, exactly underscores what the governor shared, which is this rapid rise in cases is a significant change in transmission, not just in a couple of counties, not just in one or two regions across the state, but statewide is absolutely essential for us to immediately take control of and manage so that we get out of this difficult period.
Dr. Ghaly: (25:29)
We have the benefit of the great degree of preparation we did as a state, as healthcare delivery systems across the state to prepare for this. But together we need to continue working person by person, family, community, household by household. And we can certainly make a difference here. So why are we today sounding this alarm using our emergency brake? Because we must keep transmission low. And that’s to avoid flooding the healthcare delivery system. We know a few things today that we didn’t know early on.
Dr. Ghaly: (26:10)
Those days when we were talking about bringing on additional surge beds, recruiting clinical healthcare staff to work those beds for this moment, certainly have paid off, but also tracking the data over many, many months shows us that cases today will end up in our hospital beds in two to three weeks consistently at a rate of about 12%. So, we can, with today’s data and looking at today’s case numbers, yesterday’s and tomorrow’s, begin to understand what’s coming in our healthcare delivery system.
Dr. Ghaly: (26:46)
Additionally, don’t just do what we’ve been talking about for yourselves, for your families, but really to protect our healthcare delivery system and the workers and their families in those systems. As we see winter right around the corner, cases starting to increase of COVID, the need to be prepared for flu, really protecting those workers and those facilities is key to our success in the state.
Dr. Ghaly: (27:13)
So, what are these simple reminders? Let’s boil them down to three simple things, the masking, the limiting mixing, and the reducing our movements as much as we can. So about masking, we’ve talked about this for many, many months, wearing your mask whenever you are in public, but I wanted to add two important other aspects. We talk about gathering. We talk about household gatherings, but we know when people gather with people they don’t live with often are close friends, even family members. We think that it’s okay to put your guard down. We think it’s okay to take off your mask even for a little bit to enjoy your drink or enjoy a meal. But it’s exactly those moments that might create a high transmission risk. So we urge you to consider how you engage with friends and family over the weeks to come to keep transmission rates low.
Dr. Ghaly: (28:07)
Additionally, not on this slide, but an important aspect. We’ve been tracking household transmission. And what do we mean by that? A little different than gatherings and transmission at events and get togethers. But household transmission, wherein somebody who maybe works outside of the home is exposed and in fact infected, they come home, of course they do what many of us do, they take their guard down. They spend time with their family appropriately so. But it ends up turning out that they transmit COVID to many members of their family. Rates in these different studies across the globe and since the beginning have pinned that at maybe a third, even a half of family members get infected. But this becomes another important opportunity, especially if you live with vulnerable individuals, older Californians, people with underlying conditions, consider how you interact with them even if you aren’t symptomatic. Because we know you can spread pretty easily and simply even within your own household.
Dr. Ghaly: (29:12)
So to underscore this, we put out a gathering guidance, again, last week we updated it and we want to just underscore some of the most important parts of that. Always keep your gatherings short. We know that’s not always easy, but we hope you can find that way. In red and purple tiered counties, we are strongly urging, do not gather indoors with other households. This is the type of gathering that is highest risk. We know in those purple and red counties, transmission is quite high and without any knowledge, it’s easy to have a single person who’s COVID positive spread to a number of other individuals who they’re gathering with indoors.
Dr. Ghaly: (29:53)
In orange and yellow counties, keep the windows and doors open something we’ve been saying now for the last couple of weeks to keep outdoor air circulating, wearing your mask and keeping your distance. An especial call-out for high risk individuals who should avoid these gatherings if they can. But if they can’t avoid it and they do attend, consider having a surgical mask or even an N95 that fits snugly and tightly as available for those individuals. So they are not at increased risks while indoors.
Dr. Ghaly: (30:28)
The last thing I wanted to underscore was, last week we talked about a travel advisory. We, along with our neighbors to the North, Oregon and Washington, put out a strong travel advisory. This is not a mandate. This is not a travel ban. This is not a restriction. This is really to discourage non-essential out-of-state travel. We’re asking people who do go out of state and come home or have guests from out of state, to do a 14-day self-quarantine in the state before they mix with people outside of their household. This allows us to be confident and certain that we aren’t having additional risk of transmission, especially when visitors are coming to our state or you’re returning to California from places with really high levels of transmission. Like we’re seeing in the middle part of our country.
Dr. Ghaly: (31:18)
And overall, if possible, stay local, stay within your communities. Certainly short drives, two to three hours to see others, that keeps the level of transmission and the fact that some communities have higher than others levels of transmission. That gives us some confidence that those movements aren’t going to create an increased risk for yourselves, for those you’re seeing and for the communities at large. So I’ll turn it back over to the Governor to run through today’s data numbers.
Gavin Newsom: (31:56)
Thank you, doctor. As you can see from these case numbers, the numbers have substantially increased, 9,890.
Gavin Newsom: (32:01)
… have substantially increased. 9,890 is the total number that we’re reporting today, November 15, of new cases. You’ll see the seven-day average now is over 8,000, 8,198. Let’s take a look at the next slide. You’ll see a 4.6% positivity rate over a 14-day period. This slide, familiar to many of you, is a 14-day slide, 4.6%. The seven-day is 5%. 4.6%, you may say to yourself, “It sounds pretty good.” Well, it is if only you contrast it to the 9.8%, difficult to see this, on this John Hopkins slide. This is the new national test positivity rate that came out over a seven-day period. 9.8%. Again, California at 4.6%. Don’t be, though, misled by that. Again, the rate of increase is alarming nonetheless, and while we have fared better than the national average, we don’t compare ourselves to the average. We can do more and we can do better. You have done more. You have done better. And that’s testament, again to the sum total of acts of 40 million people that have really done justice to this very difficult period of time.
Gavin Newsom: (33:17)
You’ll see, again, the average number of daily tests, 164,000. I noted a moment ago 202,000 tests that came in over the last reporting period. So we, as always, are never ashamed of the top line numbers. I know they generate headlines, total number of cases, but we want to go after them. We want to find those cases. Positivity rates gives us a real sense of how we’re doing from a community spread perspective, from surveillance perspective, really understanding the magnitude of what we’re up against, and you can, again, see that increase. And you can see it here in particular, looking back just to where we were on November 2. 14-day positivity rate on November 2 was just 3.2%. I say “just.” Still too high, but 3.2%, 4.6% today. See that trajectory?
Gavin Newsom: (34:06)
Not surprisingly, you’ll see similar trajectory in total number of hospitalized. 48% increase in hospitalizations over the last 14 days. You can see that trend line reflected not just in hospitalizations, though I want to put that in a bracket. Before I go to ICUs, take a look at our total system capacity, and this should calm nerves for the moment, though you just heard from Dr. Galley previewing things to come, and that’s why I updated you on the surge beds outside of the healthcare system capacity, because we are not waiting around. We want to be proactive. But look at the existing healthcare system capacity. 5% are current patients with COVID-19. Just 5%. not 95%, not 70%. Some states, that is the case. I think north of 50 plus percent, in some cases even higher, total number of people in their ICUs, in hospitals. But in California, 5% of total patients.
Gavin Newsom: (35:08)
Now, on ICUs it’s a little bit higher, and you’ll see a 38.8% increase in the last 14 days in ICU patients. But take a look at this slide. 13% now of our ICU patients are currently in our critical care system. Still 20,000 plus, almost 21,000 ventilators available. Again, PPE, ventilators, surge capacity, ability to move quickly with those warm beds and making them available if necessary, if the system gets overwhelmed. 13%’s a little bit higher than it was a week or so ago. It was 11% in this presentation last week. So critical care capacity, we monitor very, very closely. We’ll continue to monitor both hospitalizations going up, ICUs going up, as our case rates are going up, and positivity rates are going up.
Gavin Newsom: (36:01)
We will not be deterred in terms of our proactive stance. Again, the emergency brake that we announced here today allows us to move pursuant to this blueprint we put out, blueprint’s working as it was designed to work. Progress was being made when we saw stabilized rates and we saw a lot of movement to less restrictive tiers. The orange tier, the yellow tier. Now when we’re seeing case rates go back up, we’re seeing less movement forward. In fact, now we’re only seeing movement, 40 counties out of 58, moving backwards, pursuant to the tiered status. And so that was the surgical approach based upon conditions on the ground, county by county, that we announced 11 weeks ago.
Gavin Newsom: (36:46)
The tiered system is working as designed, and all we are announcing here today is not only the 40 that are moving backwards, but not waiting the extra day and not waiting going forward the extra week in terms of making subsequent announcements as it relates to tiered status. Two weeks, now just one week, and not waiting every Tuesday to make an assessment and announcement. We’ll make them as necessary today. We’re making them not tomorrow, and as I noted a moment ago, we are very open, and I anticipate by Friday, in fact, Dr. Galley will be back up making a presentation on the prospect of even more tiered restrictions based upon the conditions that exist today at this moment.
Gavin Newsom: (37:36)
So that’s the update in terms of where we are. As always, I’ll remind you the incredible importance of wearing these face coverings and masks, and we’ll be putting out some additional guidance in that space on physically distancing. We’ll also be augmenting and putting out more guidance, as well as more activity moves back indoors, based upon these more restrictive tiers, as well as the likelihood of us moving back indoors as it gets colder. Even in less restrictive tiers, as people move from outdoor activities back indoors, we want to tighten up those efforts.
Gavin Newsom: (38:14)
We also are considering, full disclosure, a little bit of a preview, the notion of a curfew. Now, before you jump in terms of your mindset and whether that’s a good idea or bad idea, we are assessing that as well. I have on my desk, quite literally, three studies from France, Germany, and Saudi Arabia, interestingly, that have done comprehensive studies on the efficacy of their strategies as it relates to curfews.
Gavin Newsom: (38:44)
We know in the United States, there are two states in particular that have statewide curfews of interest, at least, and that’s Massachusetts, an alcohol-based curfew in the state of Virginia. There are a lot of cities, large and small, all across the country that also are promoting certain kinds of curfews. All of that’s being assessed. We want to socialize that. We have a lot of questions about what that looks like, what that doesn’t look like. Who does it impact? Who doesn’t it impact? What does a real curfew mean in terms of just certain kinds of industry and business activities? That’s what we’re referring to in this space, but we really want the data to bear out and we want the information not to be anecdotal. We want to really take a look at those studies. Also learned from Portugal, which is well known, at least, for those that have been following internationally, some of those protocols, as it relates to curfews.
Gavin Newsom: (39:41)
Always wash your hand and minimize mixing. Now, on the minimize mixing, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge something just before we go into the Q&A, and that is very soberly acknowledge that a few weeks ago, I was asked to go to a friend’s 50th birthday, my wife and I. A friend that I’ve known for almost 20 years, and a friend that put a lot of time and energy into his 50th birthday. It was in Napa, which was in the orange status, relatively loose compared to some other counties. It was to be an outdoor restaurant, and the program started at 4:00. It was one of those early reservations. I got there a little bit late, at 4:30. And as soon as I sat down at the larger table, I realized it was a little larger group than I had anticipated.
Gavin Newsom: (40:33)
And I made a bad mistake. Instead of sitting down, I should have stood up and walked back, got in my car, and drove back to my house. Instead, I chose to sit there with my wife and a number of other couples that were outside the household. You can quibble about the guidelines, et cetera, et cetera, but the spirit of what I’m preaching all the time was contradicted. And I got to own that. And so I want to apologize to you, because I need to preach and practice, not just preach and not practice. And I’ve done my best to do that. We’re all human. We all fall short sometimes. We’ve been out, and I think for three times since … In fact, I know it’s been three times, because I remember all of those dinners very, very vividly since February. Just three times/ twice with my wife, by myself, outdoors, and then this one occasion with a larger group. And there were just a few extra people there than the spirit of what I am promoting. And so if we’re going to minimize mixing, you got to own up to that.
Gavin Newsom: (41:40)
So I just want folks to know that. Paid for our dinner, and we had an early dinner, but it didn’t matter. I shouldn’t have been there. I should have turned back around. And so when that happens, you pay the price, but you also own the mistake and you don’t ever make it again. And you have my word on that. And just know this has not been a practice I’ve indulged in in the past. I take it very seriously, what we are promoting, and have been doing so for many, many months, and you should expect nothing less of me, and I expect more from myself. And you have that commitment and my resolve in that respect as well.
Gavin Newsom: (42:18)
So when I say minimize mixing, I mean it, but again, the COVID fatigue is exhausting, and I’m empathetic beyond words. I’m not here to browbeat anybody. I’m here to find the higher angels and the spirit that is this moment to try to work through and get through this sprint, get to those vaccines where that light really is at the end of the tunnel, but work through what we all had anticipated, and that’s what’s occurred in the last really 10 days or so. And that’s a rate of increase that makes this perhaps the most difficult and challenging time throughout this year, and certainly since the beginning of this pandemic. With that, happy to take any questions.
Speaker 1: (43:03)
Adam Beam, Associated Press.
Adam Beam: (43:05)
Governor, all the evidence health officials have provided points to social gatherings as the main driver of this surge, and yet the new restrictions won’t really touch them. They will touch businesses, and there is no distinction between a business operating responsibly and one that isn’t. So what do you tell these businesses that are playing by the rules and are frustrated and angry by this announcement? And what is the benefit to them of doing what the state says they must do if they will still be penalized?
Gavin Newsom: (43:34)
Well, the bottom line is we’ve been very effective with a surgical approach to mitigating the spread of this virus. The original stay at home order was determinative in California, avoiding a first wave that many other states in this nation have avoided. And that was the consequence of efforts to really restrict movement, but also restrict activities, sectorial activities in certain sectors of our economy. We put out guidelines, we have rules, and we want to enforce those rules for individuals as well as businesses. As you know well, I come from private sector. I have a number of businesses in the State of California. It’s in a blind trust, but I know a thing or two about small businesses, and I know the hard work that is being done to not only address the state guidelines, but also to figure out and navigate some of the local guidelines that are coming out, the least of which the guidelines coming out of the CDC as well.
Gavin Newsom: (44:32)
Dr. Galley has not been shy in terms of his admiration for us to be careful and cautious as it relates to people mixing in our household, to encourage those activities to be outdoors. He made some updates today in terms of his comments about any activities that are indoor, and the importance of wearing a mask if people outside your household are indeed guests in your household. But I want Dr. Galley to come back up. He can talk a little bit more specifically about the epidemiology, because the fundamental point you’re making, the question you’re framing, is, “Where are we seeing an increase in the spread?” It’s not just households. It’s also businesses, but indeed Dr. Galley can clarify the point I think you’re making as well.
Dr. Ghaly: (45:21)
Yes. Thank you for the question, Governor. Absolutely right. We know that household gatherings are part of the challenge with transmission. Cases do occur there. We talked about why. If they happen indoors, COVID likes the indoors. If they happen pretty close by with people, COVID likes to interact when people are close. Likes it when we take off our mask. All of these things which are features of higher risk activities often that we see in small private gatherings with people we know and miss.
Dr. Ghaly: (46:04)
But that said, we know also from a number of our counties, different issues in different counties, then a number of our business sectors, not least of which healthcare sectors. We’ve been talking to you about the spread in some of our healthcare facilities. Important also, many of the businesses where masks come down. People spend a long time there. Office is one. We talked about some of the challenges with dining and drinking establishments where people sit at tables, even if outside, pretty close to folks who they aren’t with all the time with the mask down. Those are the ideal situations for COVID to spread, and the situations we know we want to try to avoid. The data does support that, not just the local data, but some national evidence, big studies that are demonstrating the same.
Dr. Ghaly: (46:58)
So yes, we are doing as much as we can imploring every Californian to think about how they mix in their private settings, how to keep their guard up even when they’re with people that they love and haven’t seen in a while, and that’s going to be an important, invaluable part of our ability to reduce transmission, but certainly we have to keep our guard up in businesses as well. And so certainly very sympathetic and talking to a lot of business owners almost every single day about ways we get through this, but we’ve got to continue to sort of have this dual approach of supporting those private gatherings to be low risk, but also doing the things within our business sectors that allow us to get this under control over the next many weeks. So hopefully by the end of December, we are seeing rates come down and we can get back to that forward movement in our tier system.
Gavin Newsom: (47:59)
Let me just, once again, acknowledge the plight of small businessmen and women and entrepreneurs that are putting their lives-
Gavin Newsom: (48:03)
Once again, acknowledge the plight of small business men and women and entrepreneurs who are putting their lives on the line, meaning all their dreams and their lives as they know it on the line to make a go of it, and the feats, and starts, and the challenges, and difficulties that they’re facing. I should just note today it was announced something that we’ve been… Well, we’ve understood for some time that our projections as it relates to state revenue are substantially greater than we had anticipated, $11.4 billion greater than we projected just four months ago. I can assure you having worked for many, many weeks now on next year’s budget, my top priority moving into the presentation of the January budget, working with the legislature to the new year is to support our small businesses that are trying their best to weather this storm.
Gavin Newsom: (48:50)
And so I’m deeply empathetic to their plight and deeply committed to doing everything in our power as a state, working with local government to augment and support their local efforts and we’re certainly working with speaker Pelosi and president elect Biden to make sure that we have a robust new stimulus that targets the most vulnerable Americans, most vulnerable Californians, gets money in their pockets and supports small businesses of all sizes to make sure that they have the tools they need, the resources to get through this very difficult period until we see mass distribution of vaccines.
Speaker 2: (49:32)
Michaelson, Fox 11.
Thank you, governor. California has been more proactive and more restrictive than most states in the country. And I’m wondering what you think isn’t working the fact that we do see these case numbers increasing so much. And on the issue of the dinner, what do you say to California residents who say this is do as I say, not as I do.
Gavin Newsom: (50:00)
[inaudible 00:50:00] just rewind the tape and what I said is that I was wrong. We have to do more and do better to model better behavior. But as it relates specifically to your question about what is not working, that’s a question, trust me, we ask ourselves all the time. And the reality at the end of the day is, I think it’s the Bible that teaches us we’re many parts but one body. And so there’s an interdependence. There’s a reality that stretches beyond the nation’s largest state and 40 million Americans that live here, an impact that we’re experiencing, not just across this country, but the impact and the transmission rates around the world. And clearly we’re not immune from those cycles.
Gavin Newsom: (50:39)
We were able to avoid and mitigate that first wave. We experienced a later first wave during the summer, but we worked through mask mandates, through enforcement, through sectorial guidelines, modifications of business activities, and messaging and the like. We’re able to stem the tide of growth in that respect, now we’re going to have to do the same. But here’s the bottom line. As more and more people are coming back indoors, and we know that the preferable activity is outdoors. As more and more people come back indoors, as the warmer months become and transition colder months, that the heightened risk and heightened concern presents itself.
Gavin Newsom: (51:24)
It is good news that we’re 4.6% positivity compared to the rest of the nation. But those trend lines are very, very challenging and that’s why we have to be aggressive. And that’s what we are doing here today with the announcement, 40 counties moving into a more restrictive tier, new targeted messaging, more guidelines, more enforcement. That again is about compliance, not about being punitive in terms of encouraging people in terms of wearing their face coverings and encouraging businesses and sectors to make sure that their modifications are best in class.
Speaker 2: (52:02)
Katie Orr KQED.
Katie Orr : (52:06)
Hi governor. I realized you have apologized for attending the birthday celebration at The French Laundry, and you say that you made a bad mistake, but are you worried that given that, people are going to take the advice that you’re giving them today less seriously? Are you worried that your actions have made it less likely people will see you as the moral authority on COVID?
Gavin Newsom: (52:31)
Yeah, I am. So that’s why you have to own it. And you have to be forthright. I’m doing my best every single day in trying to model better behavior. And so I made one mistake. I should have just gotten up from this table because there were a few extra people than should have been and left. And so you own that, you move on and you continue to do the work that you were sent here to do.
Speaker 2: (52:53)
David Baker, Bloomberg News.
David Baker: (52:57)
Governor, you mentioned that you’ve been working with the incoming Biden team on a stimulus. Have you also been dealing directly with Biden’s people on other matters around COVID, including the possible distribution of a vaccine when we get it?
Gavin Newsom: (53:14)
Yeah. In fact, I’m going to have Dr. Ghaly come up more specifically and give you some more contemporary information about that. But as you know, and I just mentioned it a moment ago, I’ll just remind everybody, we’ve been blessed. So many Californians that we work very collaboratively and closely with are now advising the president elect’s administration on their COVID response. And we also had specific member of our safety committee also tasked to be part of that advisory committee. So those relationships are extraordinarily strong and that engagement continues in a very dynamic way. So we’re working in that respect and Dr. Ghaly will come up in a second, talk more about that from a safety and efficacy and distribution frame, but also as it relates to the transition team and working with speaker Pelosi on getting more prescriptive asks in in terms of what we need as a state moving forward in terms of COVID relief.
Gavin Newsom: (54:11)
You may recall a number of months back, I think this state was the first state to formally, I sent out a letter to speaker Pelosi. It was a trillion dollar ask in the next CARES Act. At the time people thought that rather audacious trillion dollars, and now it seems extraordinarily modest. We’ve had multiple conversations directly with the speaker, no one more impactful and influential than she is in terms of her efforts to present something to not just the president elect, but when Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are officially sworn in to get something to their desk that they’ll sign. So it’s a very strong collaboration. Obviously the vice president elect is not only someone familiar to 40 million Californians, but is a friend of almost a quarter of a century. We’ve had very specific conversations as well.
Gavin Newsom: (55:01)
And I have great confidence in their ability to meet the expectations, the very high expectations that we have in terms of the support that we need and the work that they are currently doing to hit the ground running so they get something done in the first 100 days. But with that, let me ask Dr. Ghaly to talk a little bit more about some of the more formal relationship with the transition in terms of our safety and efficacy strategies.
Dr. Ghaly: (55:31)
Thanks governor. Certainly we’ve been in touch with both the current administration and working and preparing to work closer with the Biden team and the transition team. Specifically, just last week, we joined a number of Western states in a important vaccine tabletop exercise where we looked at various scenarios, challenged us to get a little bit out of our comfort zone to make sure that we’re prepared. We’ve heard feedback from our federal partners across many different agencies that California seems to be one of the states taking it most seriously, being prepared for when vaccine actually lands in the laps of places where it can be administered across the state.
Dr. Ghaly: (56:16)
So we’re very proud of that. But we don’t take lightly that we need to continue to reach out and work with the transition team to understand some of the details of what might or might not be changing so that we can be ready for that. And we will be, our three different committees that the governor has urged us to put together, that Scientific Safety Committee, that Drafting Guidelines Committee, and our bedrock, really the Community Advisory Committee that helps us really work with people throughout California in the healthcare delivery system, in our communities, in our faith-based communities throughout California to make sure that we’re doing all that we can with our messages, with our looking at the data to build trust, that trustworthiness with Californians that are going to allow us to use these valuable tools in a way that helps us get to the end of COVID, that light at the end of the tunnel that people have been talking about.
Dr. Ghaly: (57:12)
Here’s our opportunity. And we are hand in glove working with the Biden team to understand how we can be both help to Californians and a model for the rest of the nation.
Gavin Newsom: (57:31)
And I want to just underscore something in case you didn’t pick up on the Community Advisory Committee, that is a newer committee as Dr. Ghaly referenced. We put together those first two committees, the Community Advisory Committee has just also been formed to help advice more from a granular bottom up perspective that distribution of the vaccine as well. And so we’re really, really proud and grateful for the active participation of those committees. Those first two committees have already met. And the advisory committee, the Community Advisory Committee will be very influential in advising them.
Gavin Newsom: (58:09)
And ultimately, we hope advising the protocols and the processes and procedures, not just for Pfizer, but now Moderna’s distribution of those first two vaccines. And again, all the subsequent vaccines that will come shortly thereafter, January, February, March into the second and third quarter of next year.
Speaker 2: (58:27)
Final question. Dan Albano, OC Register.
Dan Albano: (58:33)
Hi governor. Dr. Ghaly last week said that an update on high school sports and youth sports retrain to competition will be coming soon. I’m wondering if you have an update and what is your message to approximately 800,000 high school athletes across the state that have been limited to conditioning schoolwork since August 3rd with no competition, but have their CIF competition scheduled to return as early as mid December? They’re eager to try to safely return to competition with their guidelines that they’ve been working on. And what kind of data do you think is important in making these decisions regarding high school and youth athletes in competition? Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (59:18)
I appreciate, and I was one of those athletes growing up, so I deeply appreciate your question. And I have a lot of friends with high school aged kids, even some a little bit younger that are very, very active in club sports and other sports that have been frustrated by this entire experience. And so my heart goes out in empathy to all of those families and those individual athletes. It’s incredibly important that we do our physical activity safely. And I should just note in the spirit of your question, there was an example of some club baseball, there was a club baseball team that went Phoenix, Arizona, went to Arizona, came back, a lot of positive cases, even young, healthy individuals tested positive as well as their coaches and some of the family members.
Gavin Newsom: (01:00:03)
So we’re tracking this very, very closely. But your specific question was Dr. Ghaly was talking about updating. I’ve reviewed the update. I signed off on it. And then we have now looked to potentially pause it. Here’s why, Dr. Ghaly will talk just in a brief second more detail because of the background rates and the community spread. We have the guidelines, we built the parameters, put a lot of work into this, but Dr. Ghaly can talk to you about what the latest is in terms of his thinking based upon his engagement with local health officers up and down the State of California.
Dr. Ghaly: (01:00:46)
Thanks governor. And you summarized it well. We have with this guidance because just like all of our guidances, lots of interested people. I, not kidding, have probably received over the past four or five days over 1,000 emails around youth sports from concerned parents, players, athletes, student athletes about the issue that you raised. Again, working through them, understanding all of the things we’ve been talking about from the beginning. Activities that are lower risk that can be done at a distance with little mixing outdoors, one thing versus high context sports that occur indoors, and really trying to get that right.
Dr. Ghaly: (01:01:30)
Working with CIF to make sure that it aligns and we’re thinking together, moving forward together so we do have one voice. Again, very close to getting that out. I’ve said a couple of weeks in a row, it’s close. Again, reviewed things as recently as last night that we hope to get out soon. But to the governor’s point, the timing right now with case rates going up very quickly, timing is everything with this. We want to make sure as we move forward with something as important as youth sports, we do it with eyes in front of us and hoping that we set it up for success. So as it happens, we don’t have to pose it or stop it down the road. So again, stay tuned. We’re working hard to get that done. 40 million people strong, lots of different interest groups and advocates to work around with this to get it right.
Gavin Newsom: (01:02:24)
So with that, let me thank everybody for the pleasure of your time and the opportunity to update. Just to note again or remind you, we’re likely not to wait for the usual cadence Monday, Tuesday, myself, Dr. Ghaly and making updates. Expect more real-time updates as these conditions continue to dynamically present themselves. And so I encourage everybody again, to do what they can to continue with the good work that you have done to substantially outperform at least what’s happening in other parts of the world and some parts of this country. But these last 10 days have been challenging. The last 10 days, these numbers have increased substantially.
Gavin Newsom: (01:03:06)
We need now to be more aggressive, more surgical, more targeted. And I can assure you, you’ll be hearing a lot more in that space in the coming days and weeks. Take care everybody. And we’ll see you back very, very soon.