Apr 1, 2020
California Governor Gavin Newsom COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 1: Will Not Reopen Schools This Academic Year
Governor of California Gavin Newsom held a press conference on April 1 as a part of his daily briefings. Newsom said California schools will not reopen before end of the academic year. He plans to use distance learning for education in the state for the rest of the school year. Read the full transcript here.
What is Rev?
Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
Represents roughly a quadrupling compared to where we were just six days ago. The number of people hospitalized in the state of California, the number 1,855, represents roughly a tripling of where we were just six days ago. It gives you a sense of the nature of the spread, and the nature of the attack of this virus, and the nature of our focus as it relates to preparing for this surge. I’ll remind you that we’re preparing for a two thirds increase in our hospital bed capacity in this state. We are preparing to meet that not just in terms of the physical needs within that system, but also making sure we have the appropriate protective gear, the ventilators, and of course, personnel people. I’ll talk more about that in a moment.
Gavin Newsom: (00:49)
So today, I want to go forward with some more specifics about our modeling, about what those numbers that I’ve led with actually mean and mean to you and mean to the state of California. I’ll ask Dr. Galli here in a moment to provide an analysis of our current modeling, recognizing that our modeling is dynamic and our modeling is unique to the state of California, not necessarily trending with other parts of the country.
Gavin Newsom: (01:16)
We’ll then talk about the issues of schools. As a parent, that’s top of my agenda and top of mind, and I’m pleased to be joined today by superintendent of public education, Tony Thurman, and by Linda Darlene Hammond, the president of the state school board. We’ll also update all of you on some guidance we have around facial coverings, and then we will happily, of course, answer all questions you may have, but let me begin with Dr. Galli and ask him to come up and share with you two slides that give you an overview of the way we are conducting our planning exercises, and how we are applying our prioritization as it relates to accessing resources, and give you a sense of where we think we’re going over the course of the next number of weeks, and then well into May, potentially June and July. Dr. Galli.
Dr. Galli: (02:09)
Thank you, governor. Let me begin by reminding everybody what we’re up against. We have a brand new virus to the globe. We’ve been watching it and tracking it over weeks and months now, and we know that we don’t have treatment, we don’t have treatment at scale, we don’t have a vaccine, so the most important thing we can do is stay home and save lives. We’ve been talking for weeks about models, we’ve been talking about flattening the curve, and today I’m going to talk you through how California has been looking at it.
Dr. Galli: (02:45)
I want to remind you that nearly three weeks ago, we began issuing guidance, first around limiting the number of people in mass gatherings, then a few days later, issuing guidance to protect our vulnerable populations, seniors, those people who are homeless, those people with underlying conditions, and then a few days later, limiting mass gatherings even further, as an indication that we were methodically and thoughtfully implementing physical distancing across the state.
Dr. Galli: (03:18)
We then, on March 19th, issued the stay at home efforts across the state, augmenting what lots of local partners did as well, and it was all based on models and considerations that we’ve been tracking and thinking about. Since we learned about COVID-19, we welcomed American’s home on those repatriation flights, we took people in off cruise ships, and we prepared as a state for what we’re facing today.
Dr. Galli: (03:48)
So as the governor said, I’m going to walk you through two slides that demonstrate a bit of what we were up against if we did nothing, and then what we hope to be doing in terms of flattening that curve and changing the history of California as it relates to COVID-19.
Dr. Galli: (04:07)
So on that first stay home effort statewide, we talked about the potential of millions of Californians being infected, and the need for an extraordinary number of hospital beds. This black line here indicates our surge capacity. If you added that to our existing capacity in hospitals, we would just be above this hundred thousand line. But if you see unmitigated, we would need over 700,000 hospital beds at peak. That’s an extraordinary number that no perfect surge plan could ever deliver.
Dr. Galli: (04:43)
So we began immediately talking about, how do we flatten this curve? This is the curve that we were worried about if we didn’t do what the governor directed us to do early, which was consider all of the things to flatten it. Again, here is the same blue line if we would have done nothing, and you see it rapidly increases, even off the chart. This line here is where we project to be with our phase one surge plan, and if you add it to existing beds, we know that this baseline starts at about 75,000, this line represents 125,000 available beds across the state of California. When the governor speaks to two thirds increase, this is exactly the line where we hope to be, and I’ll remind you that this line builds over time as well, and we are working hard with our local hospital partners, our local counties, our local labor unions to make sure that we not only have the spaces for these beds, but also that we have the staff and supplies to meet the need.
Dr. Galli: (05:54)
This purple line here looks at a model of what California experiences if we do implement, and implement well, this stay at home effort. We know that throughout California, counties are doing an amazing job, people, individuals are doing an incredible job. I feel like I am joined by 40 million partners in this fight against COVID, and we are grateful for everyone’s effort, but I want to remind you that in order to keep this line and stay to it, we need to deliver on these efforts on physical distancing, and that means holding each other accountable, working within our communities to do all that we can do to stay home and save lives.
Dr. Galli: (06:41)
I want to point out that even in this scenario, which is not the best case scenario, this is if we do what we are doing today, we do cross this line. Our effort is to move it as far to the right as possible so that we can ensure that we have the capacity in our healthcare delivery system, not just in hospital beds, but in ICU beds and ventilators, and the governor is absolutely right. We will need more and all of these things that we can accumulate, and that’s why the efforts across the state, our efforts to procure as much as we can in terms of those supplies and ventilators, is very key to our ability to not just move this to the right with our own personal efforts, but potentially lift this line as well. These points on the graph demonstrate what we’re experiencing today. These should not give people immediate hope. It tells us that we are doing, in five or six days of data points with our hospital data, we are doing about what we had hoped and expected, but because these models are highly variable, they change every single day, and there are a number of different models out there. Many of you are seeing them in other settings. We need to keep an eye on these very closely to make sure that we continue to track to the model. These are the actuals, this is the model. We are always at risk of having actuals exceed the model, and we could cross this surge line sooner, and we need to do everything in our power to ensure that we keep this line as flat as we can and continue to support our communities in that effort.
Dr. Galli: (08:29)
We will continue to be able to highlight where we are on this model and share that with you, give us feedback as a state on how we’re doing in implementing those stay at home efforts, and it will help you understand when we bring out new considerations around different elements of our stay at home effort in order to make sure that we bring this line down as flat as we can and that our actuals track to that effort. With that, I’ll turn it back to you, governor.
Gavin Newsom: (08:59)
Thank you doctor. So it just reinforces the focus of our efforts. Again, the prioritization of our day in date discussion interaction is the issue of hospitalizations and ICU beds. Roughly hospitalizations to ICUs are running about 41, almost 42%. You extrapolate that out based on the graph that was just provided in the model, we’ll exceed that phase one surge capacity of 50,000 somewhere in the middle part of May, and if you get up to about 66,000, that’s based upon our current modeling, we’re looking about 27,000 ICU beds that we’ll need to procure in this state. The good news is we have time, and that’s why it’s incumbent of all of us to utilize this time thoughtfully and judiciously, and what I mean by that, continue to practice safe, physical distancing. Stay home, connect with others, make sure … We’re doing the neighbor to neighbor program, which we discussed yesterday, making sure we’re checking in on our seniors, but no greater impact on changing that curve, buying us more time to prepare for this surge and for that peak than physical distancing, and so that’s the frame of reference that we are priding today.
Gavin Newsom: (10:21)
Just a note, we are over 8,155 individuals, 8,155 COVID positive cases, but the subset, again, is 1,855 hospitalized and the 774 that are in ICU that drive our planning focus disproportionately. With this new modeling, with the dynamic nature of the models that we’ve been using for now many, many weeks, it seems, I think, self-evident that we should not prepare to bring our children back into the school setting, and that’s why I was very pleased yesterday. We’ve been working collaboratively with the superintendent of public education, Tony Thurman and Linda Darlene Hammond. I’m very pleased with the guidance the superintendent put out. I’ve been very honest with all of you for weeks now in my belief in my expectation, but I think based on that modeling, it should be clear that the right thing to do for our children, the right thing to do for the parents, for households, for the communities in which they reside, is to make sure that we are preparing today to set our school system up where we are increasing class time, but increasing it at home, and fulfilling our obligations through distance learning and other mechanisms to make sure that we’re educating our kids, but not doing so physically on the school sites.
Gavin Newsom: (11:53)
So I’m very pleased that we have the superintendent of public education here on the phone, and in a moment, I’ll turn it over to him, but with the expectation now that the schools will not reopen, but classes are in, we also recognize our responsibility to make sure that we’re not only educating our kids, but we’re feeding our kids. Before I turn it over, I just want to make two quick announcements along those lines. We were very pleased to get a waiver from the federal government that will allow us to substantially increase access to food distribution throughout our public education system in the state. We’ve made great progress, but it’s been inhibited by the lack of access to this waiver. We finally got that waiver, and that will allow us to more substantially provide points of access for grab and go meals and other meals throughout our system.
Gavin Newsom: (12:48)
Number two, I was very pleased today with the great work of Tony Thurman, Ben Chida, my office, and others. We were able to advance a management labor agreement. This was a stubborn issue that manifested itself very differently in the thousand plus school districts throughout the state of California. Remember, this is the largest school system in the United States of America. We worked with management of all stripes and labor of all stripes to get a comprehensive agreement on protocols and procedures and processes to work through any differences that we may have in preparation and expectation to meet this moment and do the kind of work that’s necessary to advance our distance learning, and to make sure that people are appropriately getting the resources and access to critical curricula related to homeschooling.
Gavin Newsom: (13:36)
In order to do that, we needed some private sector support. So today, I’m also pleased to announce Google stepped up. Google stepped up in a big way. Google announced today, or we’re announcing today with Google, a partnership where they are providing 100,000 points of access to improve wifi and broadband capacity, and not only access to-
Gavin Newsom: (14:03)
… in the internet, but quality access to the internet. They’re providing minimum three months free access to high quality … well, to high quality access to broadband throughout the state of California. Those 100,000 points will help us substantially address the digital divide issues, the rural issues, the equity issues that are at play, even in the best of times, but substantively are highlighted in these more difficult times.
Gavin Newsom: (14:34)
In addition to that, Google has announced thousands of Chromebooks that they’ll also be making available for those that may say, “Well, that’s wonderful. I have access to the internet now, but I don’t have anything to connect it to,” and so they will be providing those Chromebooks, in addition to providing minimum three months unlimited capacity at 100-plus thousand sites throughout the state of California. We need more Googles. We still have a little bit more coverage that we’re going to need in some of the more remote parts of the state, but this was a substantial enhancement that came just at the right time with the labor management agreement, with the federal waiver, and with now the expectation that schools will close.
Gavin Newsom: (15:18)
I just want to end by making one personal point, and that is, as a parent of four, the oldest being 10, this has been a very stressful time, and so for all the parents out there, millions of you, that now may be very anxious about the expectation your school is not going to reopen, you may have thought that was the case but you were waiting to hear clarity, which I hope we’re providing now today. Let me just express deep respect and empathy, and particularly for mothers. Let me just say this openly. I try to do my part as a parent, but my wife does a heroic amount of work, and the pressure that we have placed now, additional pressure on caregivers and parents, particularly women and moms, is extraordinary.
Gavin Newsom: (16:09)
Moms are already carrying disproportionate amount of weight in terms of managing the household. Moms are also working, and many of them are teachers themselves that are having to provide distance learning, having to cope with all the stress and anxiety, looking out for all of their kids they love dearly, and making sure they’re taking care of their own kids and their childcare needs and the like. And again, there’s a gender reality connected to this, and I just want to go deeply to express an appreciation to all of the moms, all of those teachers, all those caregivers. I know how stressful this is. Trust me, I know, and I know what we’re asking of you over the course of the next few months, and I know you were looking forward to those graduations, you were looking forward to seeing how well you did with the SAT and those grades and competitive environment, particularly for our seniors, and all of those things we’re working in real time. That’s why I’m going to turn it over to the superintendent and Linda Darling-Hammond to talk about partnerships with the UCs, California’s State University system and our community college system, to address A-G requirements and address the issues associated with the SATs and graduation.
Gavin Newsom: (17:23)
But we know that those anxieties run deep and they are justifiable, and so the care and the deep empathy and collaboration you provide at this moment will never be forgotten. I just want to note how deeply proud I am of everybody that is going to step in to the void with these schools being closed but these classes now continuing so that we can educate our kids despite this challenging moment. And so with that, if I could ask Tony Thurmond, who was kind enough to join us by phone, to amplify some of this, and I just want to thank the superintendent for his wonderful leadership and really helping navigate a system that is the most challenging education system in terms of jurisdictional diversity of any in the United States of America. Tony.
Tony Thurmond: (18:16)
Thank you, governor. I’m just happy to echo the sentiments that the governor and his team have provided about how unprecedented these times are, and given the height of the challenge, how important it is for us to put forward maximum social distancing so that we can flatten the curve. And for those reasons, it is so important that our schools continue to do what they are doing, that our schools are using distance learning. What I mean by distance learning is simply that the teacher and the student are in different places so that our students can continue to get education but done in a way that is safe.
Tony Thurmond: (18:57)
We’ve been in communication with superintendents around the state, urging all of our superintendents in our schools to proceed as if we can only educate our kids through distance learning for the remainder of the school year. Quite frankly, none of us knows when it’s safe enough for our students to return to campus. We have to do the work that we heard Secretary [inaudible 00:19:20] talk about today to promote social distancing and flatten the curve. But out of an abundance of caution, we believe it is most important that all of our schools maximize their efforts around distance learning to help all of our students.
Tony Thurmond: (19:38)
We know that this is difficult. We know that this is a challenge, but as it relates to the education of our kids, we have to rise to that challenge. And so while right now our campuses are closed to our kids, school is not out for the year. In fact, we are asking everyone to accelerate their efforts to make sure that our students get a great education.
Tony Thurmond: (20:01)
As the governor indicated, we’re working with a number of philanthropic leaders to make sure that we can provide devices and access to wifi for many of our students who don’t have them. We’re providing professional learning and training for our teachers and other educators on how do we do distance learning. Tomorrow there’ll be, at 3:00 PM, for anyone who’s interested, there will be a webinar with a number of experts and teachers, who are also experts, on how we can deliver special education through distance learning.
Tony Thurmond: (20:34)
We have literally surveyed just about every school district in this state to ask what your technology needs are. The California Department of Education is providing training. We’re working collaboratively with our higher education institutions, many of whom have already announced that they will accept work in a Pass/Not Pass format so that our seniors will not be … it won’t be held against them that they’re not able to take the SAT, that the SAT will no longer be used as criteria for admissions, as was just announced today by the UC. We’re working with our higher education community to make sure that while we can’t provide a graduation ceremony for our students, we can ensure that they graduate and that they move forward on post-secondary educational opportunities.
Tony Thurmond: (21:23)
And so I want to thank the governor and his team. I want to thank the governor for his leadership. I want to encourage everyone to continue social distancing. The California Department of Education will continue to provide support to any district that needs it as it relates to distance learning. This is a tough challenge, but as it relates to educating our kids, it’s a challenge that we must meet. We can do more together. We’re stronger together, and together we will support the educational needs of our six million students. And if there are questions, we’re happy to hear them at COVID-19.cde. ca.gov and we’ll stay in this conversation. Thank you, governor.
Gavin Newsom: (22:04)
Thank you. I appreciate you joining us by phone. I’m also very grateful that we have the president of the State Board of Education, Linda Darling-Hammond, who’s on the phone. Linda, I just want to ask you, and maybe you can give us a broad overview, the work you’re doing to reinforce what the superintendent just say, that schools are closed but classes are in; that just because the campus is closed doesn’t mean we cannot accelerate learning in the state of California. Perhaps you can amplify a little bit more on the distance learning efforts, maybe a little bit more as well as about childcare needs within the system and a little bit on food distribution.
Linda Darling-Hammond: (22:43)
Sure. Well, we’ve been working collaboratively with the governor’s office and the department to help districts launch distance learning. Just about every district now is launching a distance learning plan, if they had not done so earlier in March. Many were on break at that time and expecting to return, and when it became clear that that wasn’t going to happen, districts have been assertively getting out there, purchasing and getting contributions of tens of thousands of hotspots and devices to do digital learning wherever possible.
Linda Darling-Hammond: (23:21)
When we went into school closure, about 20% of California students lacked digital connectivity at home. We are probably cutting that by more than half at this point, and will continue to try to close the gap. I’m hopeful that by the time we resume school-based instruction, we will in fact have closed that digital gap and taught a lot of people, both kids and teachers and parents, how to engage in learning online, but districts are also, where they don’t have that connectivity yet, using hard-copy packets for students, sending them out by school buses, collecting them back. People have been extremely creative.
Linda Darling-Hammond: (24:10)
ACSA is collecting on its website, the California School Administrators Association, what the plans are that districts have, and some of them are also … strong models are on the COVID website that Tony mentioned, and so people can see what good distance learning looks like, and district and county offices are sharing those with each other.
Linda Darling-Hammond: (24:36)
I also want to note that today we’ll be posting guidance, State Board and California Department of Education, on graduation requirements and grading that will make it clear how all students who are on track for graduation should be enabled to graduate. I know some districts are going to hold those commencement ceremonies in the fall, or are hoping to, and further, the guidance will illustrate how students can and should be held harmless in grading, how their work can be acknowledged prior to the closure, and continue to make progress through the distance learning programs that are underway.
Linda Darling-Hammond: (25:13)
We’ll also be issuing later today a joint statement from the Department of Education, State Board, and our higher education partners, UC, CSU, community college systems, and the private nonprofit universities, on solutions to a lot of the college admissions challenges that our juniors and seniors have been worrying about. The colleges have agreed to accept credit/no credit or pass/fail grading where districts decide to use it for A-G courses and other courses during these recent quarters of the school year with no negative impact on student grade point averages. Colleges and universities are also extending a wide range of flexibilities for testing requirements, timing of payments, processes for transcripts, reconsidering the needs for financial aid that students may have because of changing circumstances of students and families. So we are really pleased that everyone is joining arms and working together on behalf of the students.
Linda Darling-Hammond: (26:13)
We are also, as you noted earlier, ensuring that students are getting fed. Right now there are about 5,200 sites across the state offered by more than 850 districts and charter schools where students are getting grab-and-go meals, were being fed in cafeterias. Many districts have expanded their provision of meals so that all students under the age of 18 are getting served, or all of those in schools that are Title 1 schools with more than half of students living in poverty. So we’re getting as many people fed as possible, and as you know, that the federal government has approved our requests for waivers to make this process of food access even more extensive.
Linda Darling-Hammond: (27:02)
We do have a number of districts that are setting up childcare centers. I know when Los Angeles closed physical buildings, they opened 40 childcare centers for the children of first responders and other essential workers. San Francisco’s done the same. This is a strong need throughout the state, and I would say that it’s the place where we need to put our oar down for additional intensive work. But districts are also organizing where they can and reaching out to other community partners, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA, YWCA, and others to be partners in the childcare process. We have had some flexibilities in the rules to make it possible for more people to engage in that support for our workers, and particularly our first responders and…
Linda Darling: (28:03)
…other essential workers.
Gavin Newsom: (28:05)
Thank you Linda, and I should just note on the childcare piece, you’ve been working overtime with our team and the superintendent to put out new guidelines, a little bit more prescriptive, and more regionalized guidelines on the childcare space. I will be signing an executive order in the next day or so, that lays out those specific guidelines and strategies based upon the feedback you’re providing us, and the feedback you’re getting from folks all across the state of California. Thank you, both of you for joining us today, and thank you both for your leadership, and thank you for meeting this moment, and again, my deep respect and admiration to all the mothers out there, and all the parents that I know are going to have to do just a little bit more than even they’ve had to do.
Gavin Newsom: (28:53)
And again as someone that’s trying to homeschool their children trust me, I know how difficult it is. And so thank you for doing that and everything else you are doing. In the spirit of doing more and doing better, let me just update you on a few things that I’m very proud of. And that is, we now have over 34,000 people, 34,000 people that have signed up on our healthcorpca.gov website. This was the corp we announced just two days ago. We had 25,000 applications yesterday, now over 34,000 applications. We’re again reviewing them, not every single individual will be ready to go.
Gavin Newsom: (29:34)
We are looking at geography, we’re looking at specialty, we’re looking to make sure the licensing can be dealt with, and appropriated according to the very detailed specificity that we’ve advanced as it relates to protocols for making sure that people are appropriately covered with insurance, and making sure that we have the professionalism that all of you expect. But again, 34,000 strong in just 48 hours just is another example of people meeting the moment. And when I said we need more Googles, Linda Darling-Hammond made a point, we did a survey of vulnerability map of the entire state of California to provide confidently 100% coverage, where that digital vide is eliminated, at least from broadband access, it’s 162,013 hotspots we would need.
Gavin Newsom: (30:24)
Google is already providing 100,000, we’ll see how far that can go. And it was based at 162,000 number on a survey. So we think we’re actually closer than even that survey may suggest. But those that want to participate, those who want to join this call to meet this moment and address further the issues of equity, please contact us, and we will make sure you’re highlighted, and we’ll make sure that your good work is distributed throughout the state of California in terms of just the hardware, not just the software to help accelerate the work that Linda and Tony Thurman are doing.
Gavin Newsom: (31:02)
I want to just briefly, before we close and open up to questions, ask Dr. Angel to come up to talk a little bit about what we put out yesterday. Which were some well, broad strokes guidelines on face coverings. A lot of discussion around face coverings, what they are, what they’re not. Let me just begin by making this point, they are not a substitute for physical distancing. They are not a substitute for a stay at home order. They are not a call to get folks to find N95 masks or surgical masks and pull them away, or compete against our first responders, our frontline employees, within our hospital system, or broadly within our care delivery system. Be it assisted living, skilled nursing facilities, police, fire and the like.
Gavin Newsom: (31:53)
So face coverings broadly defined, can be additive but not a substitute to the social distancing, the physical distancing that is required at the moment to make that model mute, and to make sure that we continue to bend that curve. And so, with that, let me just ask Dr. Angel to come up briefly and let folks know a little bit more about the guidelines we’re putting out on the issues of facial coverings.
Dr. Angel: (32:24)
Thank you governor. Just to reiterate as well from an evidence perspective, our best defense against this virus is the types of interventions that we currently are putting in place, and we must continue to reinforce. That is washing hands, physical distance, and staying at home as often, and for as much time as possible. That prevents exposure to other individuals who could pass the infection to you. And secondly, our care delivery system must be protected because, when people get sick, if we don’t defend our care delivery system, it won’t be there to save lives. So when we talk about face coverings, we think about that within that context.
Dr. Angel: (33:07)
So there is some evidence that using face coverings may reduce the asymptomatic infections, and also it might signal to others that you need to keep a little bit of distance. It does also work through quite simply decreasing the amount of infectious particles that go into the air when we cough, or we sneeze, or we talk, particularly when we speak closely to other people. But again, it doesn’t replace the need for physical distancing. So when we speak about the potential downfalls, which we also must acknowledge, they can be that if people have these masks on, they feel somewhat immune. They feel like they can get closer to other people.
Dr. Angel: (33:49)
And when they do so they decrease that great evidence based intervention that we have, which is physical distancing. The other challenge is that when people use these face masks, if they’re not comfortable, and they’re not washing their hands, but they’re touching the mask, the particles that they might get on their hands get onto their face, get into their eyes, and can infect them. So in short, there may be some benefit from using these, but only when they’re used well. There are some counties that are introducing policies and recommendations around … Some counties introducing these recommendations, and they’re being done so thoughtfully.
Dr. Angel: (34:26)
And some of you who are listening and can use these face masks comfortably by still maintaining distance, and by washing your hands and not touching your face, may also get benefit from them. But in the end, the thing that we want to reinforce is that this really, the most important thing is physical distancing. And when that’s done with some additional face coverings, you may indeed get some additional protection. We don’t want people to have a false sense of security with these face coverings, that’s the most important thing. So if you use them, make sure you maintain that physical distance.
Gavin Newsom: (35:01)
Thank you Dr. Angel. And so those guidelines are forthcoming, check your inbox, we will be putting them out today. So that’s broad strokes where we are, some modeling that we are socializing more publicly, we have hospitalization numbers by county in the state that also we’re putting out today, new guidelines on childcare coming out in the next day or so. We’ll continue to do more and better in terms of our efforts to match the appropriate level of personal protective gear that is required at this moment. We are again, working all around the world to procure as much PPE as possible.
Gavin Newsom: (35:41)
I should just note that, we have distributed now 35.4 million N95 masks in the state of California. 35.4 million have been distributed. Those numbers go up on a daily basis, as soon as we get a new N95 masks in, we get them out again. I use that N95s as a proxy for all of the other protective gear that is required, the coveralls, the gowns, the gloves sets, and the shields, and the surgical masks and the like. We have, in addition to that, I referenced this a few days ago, we have received our first two-and-a-half tronches of distributed supply from the federal government, and the strategic national stockpile.
Gavin Newsom: (36:26)
We were just informed this morning that the fourth tranche is being sent to the state. We were pleased to hear that as well. That is on the PPE side, not on the ventilator side. I mentioned different partnerships we’re trying to form around ventilators, which continues to be a top priority for us in the state of California. We have a few thousand we’re procuring from across the globe that are on their way, that have already been purchased. In addition to that, working with private sector, including a conversation I had with the head of General Motors, Mary Barra and the work that they’re doing on behalf of the president, as it relates to their production facilities and what that can mean in terms of the larger global supply domestically that is, here in the United States, and how California can assert itself without getting in the way of other needs across the country. So with that, we’ll happily answer any questions.
Speaker 1: (37:25)
Scott Shafer, KQED.
Scott Shafer: (37:29)
Thanks governor. It’s been a couple of weeks since your statewide social distancing order went into effect now, and it seems to be working. But as a parent you probably know that after a while the kids don’t take you as seriously when you say the same thing over and over. And given that this could go on for a month or longer, how do you think about calibrating your message to the public so it doesn’t seem old without, turning the state into a police state, which I’m sure you don’t want to do.
Gavin Newsom: (37:54)
No, I mean look, Scott, it’s the right question and it’s a very personal question, particularly for parents out there. And that is difficult. And look I have young kids, it’s difficult, I can imagine having teenagers, may be even more difficult. And that’s why we have to remind people of the power and potency of their individual decision making. The real leaders are individuals, folks that are listening, that have the capacity to do something miraculous. And that’s bend that curve and go even lower, bias even more time, quite literally save lives. And so, it’s really a civic moment. It’s an opportunity to remind people of our common humanity. It’s more than just rhetoric, it’s more than just words.
Gavin Newsom: (38:35)
It’s seeing people exercise their civic duty, and remind people that we’re all connected, and our decision making has an impact on others. And so, we’re just doing our best in terms of messaging that, I’ll be a little more technical with you. We’ve been blessed by the overwhelming number of well known celebrities, influencers broadly defined, that have been doing PSAs, some very formally working with the state, and some informally that also have a profound influence on reminding particularly younger people, people that aren’t watching this news conference, of the importance of their decisions.
Gavin Newsom: (39:17)
And to the extent as you suggest, we need to enforce social enforcement is the most powerful and influential. Meaning other people just pointing a bad behavior out, and encouraging people to do the right thing. But, we’ve done these soft closures of our parks and beaches, it’s just a reminder to keep your distance physically, and to the extent we have to continue to do even more on hard closures, we’ll do that in order to continue in a force. But, we just got to remind people to stay at home, and to the extent you’re not working, you’re young and you’ve finished all your schoolwork for the day and your homework to get ahead for the next day, there’s plenty available online to keep you occupied that, for our grandparents didn’t exist when they went to war, and met this moment, and an even deeper moment of anxiety for millions, billions of people around the world.
Speaker 1: (40:11)
Rachel Bluth, Kaiser Health News.
Rachel Bluth: (40:15)
Hi governor, thanks for taking my question. I actually have two for you. First, could you just clarify what’s the total hospitalization and, at the peak and total patients expected in the ICU? And then also, in New York, governor Cuomo has used his authority to suspend supervision requirements for people like NPs, physician assistants, nurse anesthetists, could you walk me through your decision not to do that please?
Gavin Newsom: (40:46)
Yeah, I’ll ask Dr. Ghaly did to speak to both more specifically, especially as it relates to the modeling year on that peak number.
Dr. Ghaly: (40:56)
So again, thank you, thank you for the question. We know that we have planned our phase one surge capacity at 50,000 beds. That is a monumental effort that we’re depending on many partners to get to. Our modeling shows that we will need roughly 66,000 beds towards the end of May. And I’m careful to use towards the end of May, not to signify the peak. We are actively looking at our actuals, these numbers here, to determine where and when that peak comes, and we are on our way to securing those 50,000 beds, ensuring that among those 50,000 beds, we are working to get about 40%, because that’s what our actual show in ICU beds.
Dr. Ghaly: (41:44)
But let me remind you that, because we don’t have great medications, because we don’t have a number of treatments, ventilators are key. And ICU beds without ventilators, may not be worth as much as an ICU bed with a ventilator. So the governor’s effort to bring as many ventilators to …
Dr. Mark Ghaly: (42:03)
…scale in California is a must and that if we look at 40% of roughly that 66,000 or even that 50,000 number, we are in need of roughly 20, 25, closer to 30,000 ICU beds and ventilators and we are working hard to compliment our existing ventilators with new ones and then once we reach that goal we will continue out to identify more ventilators for the people of California.
Dr. Mark Ghaly: (42:33)
I will say that these numbers here in our actuals are going to be important to track because this model can be improved. If we continue to bring down the curve, bend it further down, we may be able to buy ourselves more time and ensure that we have the services both in ventilators, ICU beds and other equipment and supplies to care for all those people who need it. With regards to the question on our staffing and flexing some of the credentials or the scope of practice for PAs, NPs and others, we are closely looking at that. We are enthusiastic that 34,000 individuals have registered on healthcorps.ca. Our effort with the Health Corps, can’t even remember the name, sorry. But that is going to, as we look at those 34,000 individuals and identify where they can meet the surge capacity needs and the global need across the state, we may indeed need to look at other interventions to make sure our healthcare workforce is sufficient to meet the need as we model and look at our actuals over time.
Gavin Newsom: (43:56)
Healthcorp.ca.gov. We want to encourage even more folks. Look, we do things we think we need to do and to the extent conditions change. We make decisions in real time. We are gaming out dozens of other executive orders, we are analyzing legal protocols. All of those things are considered as part of our pandemic planning that goes on here at the Office of Emergency Service every hour of every day. We are at a completely different place than the State of New York. I want to just begin with that and I hope we continue to be, but we won’t unless people continue to practice physical distancing and do their part and we continue to meet this moment.
Gavin Newsom: (44:37)
I should remind all of you, it’s important to remind all of you on ventilators, we have a phase one goal of 10,000 ventilators. We are already at 4,252 that we’ve been able to secure. We believe there’s thousands more that we’ll be able to announce very shortly. We’re also looking at bridge ventilators. Those are the ones I was referring to at Virgin Orbit, which we are getting a prototype delivered very soon here to begin testing.
Gavin Newsom: (45:05)
We’re also looking at CPAP machines and all kinds of other novel strategies we mentioned when we were down at Bloom Energy just a few days ago, in partnership with Stanford University, looking at the utilization capacity of existing ventilators and seeing if we can reduce the number of ventilators even being used on one patient. Oftentimes you’ll have two ventilators for one patient depending on different lung capacity or their capacity. Though this is a more challenging thing to get multiple patients on one ventilator.
Gavin Newsom: (45:34)
It gives you a sense, I hope, that we’re not just looking to procure what’s already on the line, 700 component parts, traditional ventilator. We’re trying to be very creative so that we can meet this moment and get in that second phase, which is that 66,000 number of which would require roughly 27,000 ICU beds based upon the current modeling of 41, 42% of all hospitalizations requiring ICU.
Speaker 2: (46:03)
Alexei Koseff, SF Chronicle.
Alexei Koseff: (46:07)
Hi governor. Building on that point about trying to get more ventilators and other supplies, is there any sort of state authority that you have or have looked into about trying to require manufacturers to make equipment the way the federal government can with the Defense Production Act. And separately, why has your administration stopped publicly reporting how many healthcare workers are infected with Coronavirus as a separate data point from the total cases.
Gavin Newsom: (46:46)
Happy to provide that information and so we’ll make sure that you get that information. As it relates to doing a domestic version of the Defense Production Act, the answer is yes, we have capacity to do things creatively and to the extent necessary we’ll advance them. But right now we’re having an incredibly strong collaborative spirit with companies, California-based companies, Virgin Orbit being a very specific example in Long Beach, Bloom Energy, a specific example in Sunnyvale of people that are contributing specifically to the issue of ventilators in real time.
Speaker 2: (47:22)
Jeff Taylor of Bloomberg News.
Jeff Taylor: (47:26)
Hi governor, thanks a lot for taking our questions this afternoon. Many aspects of policy have taken place. Changes of policy have taken place that I think a lot of people find surprising. The generous unemployment benefits including for Rideshare drivers and others laid off by the crisis, the ban on corporate stock buy backs from companies who borrow money from the government. I’m wondering if you see the potential, as some others in party do, for a new progressive era, if you want to call it that in national politics and policy and whether there’s the opportunity for additionally progressive steps such as the ones that I listed on the national and state level going forward because of this crisis.
Gavin Newsom: (48:16)
Yeah, we’ve had some very deep policy conversations in this space now for weeks. Let us remind, despite the fact that California was running a historic economic output in terms of our GDP growth, in terms of our net… Well, from job creation to low unemployment to record reserves, surpluses, the wealth distribution, the income inequality was not something that was substantially improving and that’s the case across the rest of the world. As IT and globalization detonated at the same time, you’re seeing that concentration in fewer and fewer hands.
Gavin Newsom: (48:57)
The middle-class feeling squeezed. Increasingly the trend lines were suggesting what is self evident become a headline and that is we were going from a three class society to a two class society. So something was fundamentally flawed in that global context, manifested quite acutely here in the state of California, the richest and the poorest state with the number of the most impoverished metros in the country. And we’ve long been struggling to address those issues.
Gavin Newsom: (49:22)
So I see this quite substantively through that lens, that equity lens, looking at those folks that never fully recovered. And you look at medium wages for folks coming out of ’08, ’09 in the Great Recession that haven’t fully recovered even today that are struggling. And so, what is going to happen to those folks in this current crisis and what’s the opportunity to your question for re-imagining a more progressive era as it relates to capitalism?
Gavin Newsom: (49:52)
I’m a capitalist, I’m a small business owner, I’m a job creator. Well, my customers are the job creators, I’m beneficiary of their support. And that helps build that demand that allows me to hire more people. And so, as a former business owner now governor, I have had that experience and I have that appreciation of the importance of consumer confidence, consumer spending, and a vibrant middle class.
Gavin Newsom: (50:15)
And so yes, forgive me for being long winded, but absolutely we see this as an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern. And that shouldn’t put shivers up the spines of one party or the other. I think it’s an opportunity, a new for both parties, to come together and meet this moment and really start to think more systemically, not situationally, not just about getting out of this moment, but more sustainably and systemically to consider where we can go together this historic moment if we meet it at a national level and a state and subnational level. So, answer is yes.
Speaker 2: (50:53)
Final question, Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (50:59)
Hi governor, I have saved two questions for you. The first one is on face masks. Riverside County has put out recommendations that everyone should wear them. It sounds like that’s not a recommendation that the state is ready to make. So, wondering if you could just be a little bit more explicit on why. And then the second question is on ventilators. You’ve said that we need 10,000 more ventilators, but Secretary Ghaly has said that at the peak we could have 30,000 ICU rooms that need ventilators. So, I’m just trying to understand the difference in those numbers if we may need 30,000 rooms with ventilators, but we’re only trying to get 10,000. Where do those other 20,000 come from?
Gavin Newsom: (51:42)
Yeah. It’s the same question you can ask on the 66,000 beds versus the 50,000. And the answer to both, the question I pose rhetorically and the question you’ve asked specifically is phase one versus phase two. In our phase one planning, I’m looking to secure those 50,000 beds. Again, 30,000 coming from within the hospital system. 20,000 beds, they were procuring, by the way, including Sleep Train Arena today, which will provide capacity for 363 beds. So every day we’re stacking more of those beds, more of those supports and going out, as I said, already finding over 4,252 ventilators as part of phase one goal of 10,000. So that’s the buckets to which we see things.
Gavin Newsom: (52:26)
We’re going to be as creative as possible and I hope you heard the reference to how we’re looking to bridge ventilators and how we’re looking to other creative capacity by using other breathing machines and other ventilation capacity to see if we do get to peak, that the needs of the vast majority are met. We again are just trying to do our best and we’re leaning in. There is simply not a purveyor of ventilators in the world that probably hasn’t already received a call directly from me or the team. We are searching high and low all across the globe.
Gavin Newsom: (53:03)
I mentioned the capacity of purchasing, the state has the 101,000,095 masks that we have requested or actually gone through a purchase order for. Gives you a sense of the scope and scale of what we’re looking to do from a global perspective. So we’ll keep at it. Again, the whole point is to buy more time and as long as we’re the lower end of that curve, that will give us more days, more weeks, give us this next month to be able to find those additional ventilators. I should just note in conclusion on the events, we specifically have a request into the federal government for 10,000 ventilators, but I’m not naive. I think that’s their entire stock for the United States.
Gavin Newsom: (53:47)
They’re also trying to source more ventilators, but we’ve had that request in for some time. And so, that goes specifically to where are we going to get those additional 10,000. If indeed that happens, that would be spectacular. But California is resourceful and we’re not waiting around for others. We’re going to try to figure this out and every day that we do, I will update you so you’ll have more information. As it relates to the first part of your question, I’ll have Dr. Ghaly answer because I’ve now forgotten it. Forgive me.
Dr. Mark Ghaly: (54:22)
Can you repeat the question?
Gavin Newsom: (54:23)
There you go.