Oct 19, 2020
Gavin Newsom October 19 Press Conference on COVID & California Wildfires
On October 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom held a press conference with updates on the coronavirus & the wildfires currently affecting California. Read the full transcript of his remarks here.
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Gavin Newsom: (03:41)
Well, good afternoon. I just wanted today update folks on our progress around vaccinations and give you an update of where we believe we are, vis-a-vis what you’re hearing in some of the national media and some of the assertions have been made by a number of organizations, individuals, elected officials, and the like, and give you a sense of where we believe we are and how we can make sure we distribute our vaccines and our protocols in efficacious way, and a way that guarantees your health and safety.
Gavin Newsom: (04:12)
Just to give you a perspective, California has formerly advanced partnership with the Federal Government, where one in five jurisdictions, California is one of five jurisdictions in the United States have been doing what we refer to internally as micro-planing, but advanced planning for our vaccine distributions.
Gavin Newsom: (04:32)
We’ve done this in partnership with the CDC and the DOD. That’s been underway for now a number of months here in the state of California, this formal role, this formal partnership.
Gavin Newsom: (04:44)
As it relates to the efforts, we have long been in the vaccination business. Our experience in mass vaccinations makes us unique partner for the CDC and the DOD. Based on the scale and scope of the vaccinations that occur on an annual basis here in typical due course here in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (05:05)
Just consider 19 million annual flu shots typically distributed here in the state of California. Our experience back in 2009, around the distribution of vaccinations and other therapeutics related to H1N1. Work we’ve done historically with Hepatitis A and of course our childhood vaccination protocols, well-established partners at the grassroots level, well-established protocols, information gathering, confidentiality agreements, and the like.
Gavin Newsom: (05:33)
Just giving you a sense that the experience with vaccinations is well established here in the state of California. And so as we work to advance the protocols and partnerships, as we advance our formal planning and engagement with the CDC and the DOD and others, we do so on the basis of the architecture of a framework that has been well-established for many, many years here in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (06:01)
Recently, we put together more formally a vaccine steering committee. In fact, in April, the vaccine steering committee was put in play within the state of California CDPH, Department of Public Health.
Gavin Newsom: (06:15)
We now have advanced a logistics task force working here at the office of emergency service. For the last few months, they have been coordinating with federal, regional, local partners to look at the logistic side of how we implement and actualize our vaccine plan. California today is launching now more formally a scientific safety review, a work group of 11 individuals experts in their field.
Gavin Newsom: (06:45)
These are top health experts that will independently review any FDA approved vaccines. Question I often get is, “Are you going to take someone’s word for it, as it relates to vaccines?” Of course, we don’t take anyone’s word for it. We will do our own independently reviewed process, with our world-class experts that just happen to live here in the state of California treasure trove of experts from UCLA, UCSD San Diego, from partners that we’re able with actual experience in epidemiology from Stanford University, people from UC Berkeley, others that represent County and state health offices, all part and parcel of a independent group of health experts that will help us advance and closely monitor our protocols and procedures related to vaccine trials.
Gavin Newsom: (07:41)
Let me just give you a sense here. You can see this slide of some of their expertise in biostatistics, in epidemiology, in pediatric infectious diseases, in health equity, healthcare financing.
Gavin Newsom: (07:54)
Again, this spectrum of expertise, the diversity of expertise, as well as a geographic diversity. And when we talk by the way of health equity, that’s a frame of cultural competency. That’s a big part of our commitment here in the state of California, the proper distribution of resources, particularly as it relates to vaccines and focusing on immunizations.
Gavin Newsom: (08:17)
So that’s broad strokes of the group that we’re formally convening here in the state. We’re very proud of the work that’s been done by Dr. [Gallien 00:08:28] and his team to identify these experts and these experts again, will independently review and monitor any vaccine trials to guarantee safety, to guarantee equity, and to guarantee the transparency of the distribution of our vaccines.
Gavin Newsom: (08:47)
For just full disclosure, the transparency was put forward through guiding principles that we put out in a document, a vaccine plan that we submitted to the CDC last week. In return for submitting the vaccine plan, the state was afforded some $28.86 million of federal support that we will utilize with our partners here throughout California.
Gavin Newsom: (09:16)
Meaning that 28, almost $29 million will go to support our efforts at the state level and also support local efforts in terms of advancing our vaccine planning efforts. Bottom line though, is the first phases of vaccine will likely be limited in terms of availability. Questions abound, when do we anticipate or expect the first vaccines to be made available?
Gavin Newsom: (09:42)
There are some edacious stretch goals that you’ve been hearing that have been advanced out of Washington DC. Those stretch goals have been organized around two companies in particular that are asserting the availability of very limited supply of vaccines, as early as November and December of this year.
Gavin Newsom: (10:09)
We have different protocols, processes, and procedures related to each company and their vaccines. They require different storage, they require different distribution strategies and plans. It gives you a sense that as every company comes forward, these happened to be from the CDD, CDC’s assertion, the two companies that are leading in this space as it relates to the prospect of early limited availability, Moderna and Pfizer, that the number of vaccines will be very, very limited and require a protocol and a process of distribution focusing first on our essential healthcare workforce and our first responders.
Gavin Newsom: (10:54)
Accordingly, the limited first phase supply and I’ll in a moment, give you a sense of what I mean by limited. Also focuses on high-risk groups, clearly those 65 and over, those in skilled nursing facilities, long-term care facilities throughout the state, not only skilled nursing facilities, but residential care facilities, those with disabilities, those that are detained or otherwise incarcerated.
Gavin Newsom: (11:20)
And obviously those that are often under-served that have become higher risk from an equity lens issues related to racial minorities in the state of California, particularly the Latino community, African-American community and never do we forget our rural communities in the state that often are neglected as it relates to the distribution of immunization strategies and vaccines in this case, they’re front and center in terms of our planning.
Gavin Newsom: (11:49)
The bottom line though, with any appropriate vaccination plan is addressing some of the logistical challenges that we’ve come to long recognize as it relates to the challenges that have been imposed around COVID-19 transmission from the beginning. Be it PPE, issues associated with testing and contact tracing, no different as it relates to a vaccine plan, getting under the hood and really looking at where the challenges may lie.
Gavin Newsom: (12:19)
Let’s start with supplies related to the distribution. Right now, that supply identified [inaudible 00:12:26] needs include needles and syringes, alcohol, pads, bandages, masks, PPE, related to the distribution and the application of the vaccine itself.
Gavin Newsom: (12:38)
Just put it in perspective, with H1N1 you didn’t necessarily have the same asymptomatic issues that you’ll have as it relates to COVID. As a consequence, many people may be asymptomatic, and we’ll need to protect those that are distributing these vaccines with the appropriate masks and face coverings, with the appropriate PPE, it adds another layer of challenges. Relates to challenges, issue storage requirements.
Gavin Newsom: (13:06)
I mentioned storage a moment ago related to Pfizer and Moderna. Both Pfizer and Moderna that are talking about X number of millions of available vaccines for the United States in total. And by the way, our internal documents, just to give you a perspective, and this is full transparency. And by no means I don’t want people to run with this number.
Gavin Newsom: (13:31)
But for planning purposes, we were provided an estimate. And this was just an estimate. This is the high end, just to put in perspective, the high end estimate for planning purposes for vaccination A, vaccination B, both Pfizer and Moderna, the cumulative, the total number of vaccinations for the nation for planning purposes on the high end, through the end of the calendar year was about 45 million. Note that each vaccination needs to be used rather each distribution of vaccination has to occur on a 21 day period. You have to actually have two shots, not one. So from a logistics perspective, from a storage perspective, a requirement for notification, bringing people back after the first immunization shot, you could take that number 45 million, cut it in half, and then take a percentage of any given state, including the state of California, you’ll get a sense that on the high end for a state like ours, it’s a million, million and a half, two million people tops.
Gavin Newsom: (14:40)
And we have roughly that many people just in our health care delivery system alone here in the state of California, that will be prioritized. So if I haven’t lost you, I want to just again, remind you that when we talk about vaccinations, don’t anticipate or expect that you can go down a local pharmacy anytime in this calendar year and likely get a vaccination.
Gavin Newsom: (15:04)
We hope that’s the case, but based upon all the evidence, all the data that we have been provided and the expertise that we’ve been able to gleam and advance ourselves in terms of the protocols that we have advanced with the CDC and the DOD is again, one of five jurisdictions doing the micro-planing.
Gavin Newsom: (15:24)
It is simply unrealistic to expect that these limited doses will be for a limited number of people, and we don’t anticipate mass availability until 2021. The question for all of us is that in the first quarter, second or third quarter of 2021. My answer to my own question is yes, yes, and yes. It just simply depends who you talk to.
Gavin Newsom: (15:50)
Those that are more optimistic, Q1, those that are more realistic, middle of 2021, those that are on the spectrum of being a little more pessimistic are looking at Q3.
Gavin Newsom: (16:03)
… going to be a little more pessimistic, our looking at Q3 of 2021, but it’s 2021 for, as they say, you and me that will likely have the access and availability with these protocols and the vaccination plans that we’re putting out of a vaccine. And so I just want to put a sober perspective on these issues and these challenges, and try to bring as much transparency to bear that we have internally as it is our want to make you aware of what I and others are aware of so you get a sense of what we’re up against.
Gavin Newsom: (16:40)
Relates to challenges, storage is a challenge. Let me show you why. You can see here, our storage requirements. These vaccinations or vaccines require ultra cold storage of 70 degrees Celsius, below 70 degrees Celsius, so it requires dry ice. I can imagine you remember the transport media. You imagine the swabs were issues related to testing. Don’t think that dry ice won’t be a commodity of concern and consideration as it relates to our vaccination strategies. That’s top of our agenda. Cold storage for other vaccines.
Gavin Newsom: (17:20)
And again, we are looking at two at the moment, for again, planning purposes, the Moderna and the Pfizer, each require different storage, each require different distribution strategies. These are two examples, ultra cold storage, and then simply cold storage, 20 degrees below Celsius, that ultimately again, require a unique challenge in terms of how you get them into urban centers, how you distribute them with ultra cold storage considerations into rural areas, in other parts of the state that are underserved. Again, all of these things being worked through with our respective teams, getting logistics teams and the team we assembled that are looking at the efficacy and safety, the announcement we made today with the 11 individuals, as it relates to getting these vaccines out people in a way where they know they’re safe and are not concerned about their health.
Gavin Newsom: (18:18)
As it relates to data management, another big challenge. Good news is from an immunization and vaccine perspective, we have an existing system and I am not naive about existing systems in this state that cannot handle the kind of volumes that COVID-19 has highlighted, abundantly highlighted in the state. The good news is we do have a data management system called CAIR. It’s our California Immunization Registry. Again, I’ll remind you the immunizations that we’re already doing are substantial in the state. Significant, just the flu again, 19 plus million vaccinations. The pediatric immunizations that we’re doing, they’re all part of this existing infrastructure.
Gavin Newsom: (19:01)
But I can assure you for those that may have a question, well, what about CalREDIE and these other systems where we could purport similar confidence, but we never purported similar confidence in those spaces. We have a little more, not a lot more, a little more with CAIR, but we’re also have a team of people proactively, as part of our work group on logistics, really looking at the efficacy of the IT system itself, because obviously data management is foundational notifications to get the second shot, privacy considerations, notifications between federal government and the state, privacy considerations always in play, obviously notifications from the state to local health officers and local jurisdictions. If we include broadly and expand our points of access for the distribution of these vaccines to pharmacies, as an example, or blood banks, as an example, or other facilities, federal, state, or nonprofit, non-governmental facilities, obviously, the expansion of our registry becomes paramount in terms of making sure that is done with all of your health privacy concerns being addressed.
Gavin Newsom: (20:24)
As it relates to the broader issue, trust. Final bullet point here is community education and engagement. This vaccine plan will move at the speed of trust. You have to have confidence in the efficacy of the vaccine, confidence that we’re not rushing to judgment in terms of its distribution and its accessibility, making sure, again, that we are a third set of eyes or a second set of eyes as is a case here. This is what the work group’s responsible for and this is what our healthcare team is responsible for as well. But part of that outreach is warranting that trust by making sure that we are transparent and we are consistently engaged, again, in a culturally competent way, making sure that you have trusted messengers, making sure that we have appropriate PSA’s and other educational material out there, so people not only know where they can get the vaccines when they are broadly available or whether or not they can line up in queue based upon, again, the prioritization of distributions, high-risk, senior populations, again, not just first responders and healthcare workers. All of that is part and parcel of a community education and engagement and outreach strategy that’s also part of our vaccination plan.
Gavin Newsom: (21:46)
I want to remind everybody that vaccines will not end this epidemic overnight. The bottom line is even if millions and millions of Americans, millions of Californians, get the vaccination, get that second shot over that 21 day period, based upon some of the earlier vaccines that we are aware will be made available. Again, there’ll be many different strategies presenting themselves over the next number of months. These are the first few that were working for planning purposes. It’s not going to end this pandemic overnight.
Gavin Newsom: (22:19)
And that’s why it’s absolutely essential that we maintain our vigilance and be reminded that the most impactful non-pharmaceutical intervention that remains as it relates to the issue of mitigating the spread and transmission of COVID-19 continues to be wearing a mask physically distancing, avoiding mixing with people that are outside of your households, maintaining vigilance as it relates to any modification of our stay at home orders as we move tier to tier in to these reopening strategies and areas and industries, to do so by being accountable, all of us as consumers, not just as business leaders, as well as those that are here to protect and educate our kids, that we are stringent in our reopening strategies and we maintain our sanitation, which again means a simple thing, it’s flu season, after all, just washing your hands and doing the things that your grandmother reminded you of as you were raised.
Gavin Newsom: (23:26)
Now, another thing that is critical is issue of testing. And on Monday, just give you a preview, next Monday, we’ll be announcing this remarkable effort. I’m incredibly proud of this effort. We announced a few months back, just a few months back a partnership with PerkinElmer to develop a facility here in the State of California from scratch to significantly increase our testing capacity here in the State of California. At a time when you’re seeing testing be pulled back, we are accelerating our testing efforts. We announced last week, or we updated you on some of the isolation that quarantine strategies and the contact tracing work that we’re doing. Again, testing big part of the isolation and the containment of this disease. Next Monday, we’ll be updating you on all of that progress. And I’m very, very enthusiastic about that update because of what it means to you and me and others in terms of making more points of availability at a lower cost, more testing, PCR tests available across the state. And that will only help in advance our efforts to reopen and find quality supports and quarantine and isolation. And of course, treatment.
Gavin Newsom: (24:47)
We’re not walking away from treatment. The State of California is abundant where the birthplace of life science and biotech, bioinnovation, biotherapeutics. No one does it better than we do. The credible partnerships with UC, CSUs, the work that’s being done at Stanford and other universities and the translational quality of the research and development from federally funded research institutions, not just independent and private institutions, again, therapeutics, dominantly therapeutics coming and emanating out of this state. And we continue… We have a therapeutics task force and I’ll look forward to updating you on that task force shortly.
Gavin Newsom: (25:26)
I’m hesitant to want to over promise in this space. There’s a few elected officials that have been on the therapeutic side. We’ve been a little more cautious, but I think it would be good to highlight you on some of those available therapeutics that are being tested here in advanced trials, uniquely and disproportionately in fact, here in the State of California. All of these approaches, forgive me getting a long windedness, all of these approaches are foundational in terms of our efforts and approach to getting us past, so we can finally turn the page on COVID-19. Vaccines are one part, long-windedly, of that approach. We have all of these other modalities and strategies on prevention, containment, and treatment that are also part of our approach to getting back to work, getting our kids back into school and getting past this pandemic.
Gavin Newsom: (26:17)
One thing I can’t resist, I was out this weekend, went out and I saw a number of people that had their masks on, but not the correct way. And just want to remind people when your nose is exposed, it may be more comfortable, but it’s not necessarily the right way of wearing a mask. I don’t, again, malign anybody or begrudge anybody for momentary lapses. We all, including me, do and not having them on when we should have. All of that is part and parcel. It’s not about browbeating anybody, just a quick reminder that this is not the way to wear them. This is. And so I just, we had to put this up just because I think a lot of us are experiencing friends, family members, perhaps those looking back at us in the mirror with the incorrect use and want to encourage you with that correct use.
Gavin Newsom: (27:10)
Well, speaking of encouraging, let me give you an update on our case numbers here in the state. The seven day average of 2,966 individuals, less than 3000 is encouraging. The numbers that came out yesterday a little higher than the seven day average, though we tested over 150,000 people as part of the cohort to establish the new case number of 3,474. The seven day average though looking a little bit better than we’ve seen in some time, though I want to caution you and you’ll see some slides of some caution about being overly exuberant or enthusiastic about some of these trend lines. Good trendline though.
Gavin Newsom: (27:51)
Continues to be more tests on a daily basis as we work our way through these wildfires. I’ll briefly update you on those in a moment. We’re getting these testing facilities back online. These points of contact for testing now averaging over 121,000 tests. Next Monday, again, we’ll announce how we can double that. At least that will be our longterm, medium to long-term goal. But now back up to 121,000 average daily tests. The 14 day positivity rate is 2.5%. The seven day positivity rate is 2.4%. Just repeat that seven days positivity here in the State of California, 2.4%.
Gavin Newsom: (28:32)
Here’s the slides of some caution and consideration. We’ve been previewing this now for a number of weeks, you may recall the hospitalization chart that many of you are familiar with. We’ve seen decreases over 14 day period in double digits, fairly consistently over the last six, seven, eight weeks. You’ll see here, just over the last 14 day period, in the last two weeks, just a 4% decrease in total hospitalizations. We’re seeing a decline in the rate of decline in hospitalizations. And we’re getting to a point where if you just extend that trend, that we’re beginning to flatten out, plateau as relates to hospitalizations.
Gavin Newsom: (29:13)
Even more interesting and concerning to the extent it is obvious point of concern for all of us and that’s ICU admissions here in the state. You’re seeing commensurate 4% on hospitalization decreased, just 3% decrease in admissions related to ICUs over a 14 day period. But over seven days, if I had a seven day slide, you’d actually see a slight increase in ICU admissions. So still a decrease over 14 day period.
Gavin Newsom: (29:45)
But boy, what more of a reminder do you need than seeing these numbers begin to plateau and not only plateau, you can see just from that low that we experienced, we’re seeing a number of new patients. It’s still dozens, but nonetheless, in ICUs each in every ICU admission is precious and obviously a point of real concern as it relates to the importance of quality care and timely care and obvious concern around mortality and morbidity. Just a point of caution and what more, again, do you need than this slide and the fact that I think it was in, don’t quote me, but I think it was roughly 38 states in this country that have experienced a 10% increase over the last seven days of total number of cases.
Gavin Newsom: (30:35)
This is that dreaded third wave that some had projected for California. This may be better termed a second wave since we never experienced that first wave, like many did in the Northeast part of the United States. We really had our first wave extended around July, but nonetheless, second or third wave. This is what all the epidemiologists, the scientists, anyone that followed any of our history in data from 1918, 1919 Spanish flu pandemic, this is what we anticipate moving into the colder season, moving into the season where movement more of us are moving inside, moving into a season where more of us begin to mix and come back, extended family members for the holidays.
Gavin Newsom: (31:23)
This is an area of obvious and real concern, and that’s why we were being very slow, sober, and forgive me, stubborn about some industries in the state that I know are eager to get guidelines. Tomorrow Dr. Ghaly will update you on some of those industries and guidelines, including sports and some of these theme parks. We’re going to break up the theme parks. It’s not just one or two brands. It’s many different parts that are part of the theme park industry. But Dr. Ghaly, we’ll be updating you tomorrow on those guidelines. Again, I hope one recognizes our stubbornness on a health-
Gavin Newsom: (32:03)
One recognizes our stubbornness on a health-first data-driven decision-making process, is done with our eyes wide open on what’s happening now around the world, not just what’s happening across the United States. Not yet here in the state of California, but that’s only because we are being vigilant and have to maintain that vigilance. We avoid any further increase in transmission. Just a final few slides, and of course open ourselves to any questions. Here’s an updated slide from last week. Dr. Ghaly put out this new tiered status. You can see just 10 counties now in the purple status, which is the lower tier as it relates to the most restrictive guidelines related to COVID-19. Now, some 48 counties out of that purple status, 27 now in red. You see 13 in orange, and 8 counties now in yellow status, not just in Northern California, but also parts of Central California.
Gavin Newsom: (33:04)
There are parts of Southern California though in particular, that we remain very, very concerned about. Dr. Ghaly will update you tomorrow with new press conference around some of the interventions we hope to advance in a number of different counties, not dissimilar to interventions we advanced in the Central Valley a number of months ago as it relates to rates of increase and just areas of concern. Those will be, again, reviewed and he will transmit some of the guidelines and recommendations this time tomorrow in that space. Let me just briefly remind everybody, we continue to battle these historic wildfires. We’re making progress on the spread of the largest wildfires in the state. Some 4.1 million acres burned year to date throughout the state of California. I think about 3.8 million just since August 15. 12 major complexes right now. We’re down 74-ish hundred firefighters.
Gavin Newsom: (34:09)
That’s down significantly from the number of firefighters working the lines just a few weeks back. Heroic work, extraordinary work by Cal Fire, our mutual aid, locally mutual aid federally. They’ve done a magnificent job with some of these larger complexes, including some strategies on pre-positioning and prevention that went into place last week with these high winds that we experienced, higher heat or humidity in the Northern part of the state. I should just note that we anticipate those conditions to return again later this week. As early as tomorrow evening, start to see some winds whipping back up in Northern California. Southern, Central California, bearing a little bit better from the wind perspective, though that can change quickly. But the next eight days, based upon our briefing this morning, the next eight days are around Northern part of the state in an around where I am, north of where we are up into the border.
Gavin Newsom: (35:11)
We expect temperatures to not be as high as they’ve been in the past, but the humidity levels… Just concerning, and the winds whipping back up. We’ll put a lot of pressure on, again, doubling down on our pre-positioning strategies and prevention strategies. Just a brief overview, again, 31 lives that have been lost in this wildfire season. Almost 10,000 structures, 9,282 structures destroyed. Those are destroyed, not damaged. The damage number is substantially higher. Just a reminder of the challenges we continue to battle as it relates to the hottest, not just August in recorded history, but now the hottest September in recorded history. Reminder of what we say often, that climate change is here. It’s real. It exacerbates and challenges us. It’s not alone exclusively the reason we have wildfires. We’ve had wildfires historically, but the ferocity and the devastation of these mega fires is such that it is only made more challenging, worse, in the conditions that mother nature has provided us. Again, she’s joined the climate conversation. I’ll remind you of what’s been said by many others in the past. She bats last. She about bats 1000. She’s chemistry, she’s biology, and she is physics. She’s not a political point of view or an ideology as it relates to a, well, objective truth. The August Complex, 1 million acres, the largest wildfire in our state’s history. What more proof do you need of the concerns we have around the hots getting hotter and the dries getting drier? 75% contained last week. We’re now at 82% contained. We’re holding the line, working our partners, the US Forest Service, on that complex. And just a brief overview, a final… Creek Fire, this in Fresno and Madera, it was 55% contained. Again, Forest Service working these lines as well. 333,000 acres last week. It’s grown a little bit over the last seven days. 61% contained today, 350,000 acres.
Gavin Newsom: (37:32)
So, they’re doing a wonderful job on that fire. Some areas of the Creek Fire that they’re just allowing to burn, safely burn, but nonetheless containment beginning to improve on these two very large and what now have been turned iconic wildfires here in the state of California. Speaking of iconic, well, we have a unique strategy here in the state of California that’s now being replicated in other parts of the state. Of course, we took the cue from at least five states that do mail-in ballots. We have a deadline today. It’s the last day to register to vote, to receive your mail-in ballot before Election Day. It’s not last day to register to vote, but last day to register to vote to receive your mail-in ballot before Election Day. So if you want the convenience that so many of us afforded, please register so we can send that mail-in ballot to you so you can get the opportunity, the privilege, to be an active citizen, not inert, in this election process.
Gavin Newsom: (38:37)
And so, that is the update. As always, we end with this mantra you’re all familiar with around the imperative of wearing masks, physically distancing, minimizing mixing to the extent possible. Continue in your vigilance, and again, expression of gratitude to each and every one of you for the extraordinary work you’ve done to mitigate the spread of this virus over the last seven, eight, nine weeks. Preparing us to enter into the holiday season, the winter season, more mixing likely occurring indoors, and allowing us to prepare. And next week, we’ll be announcing the efforts on the testing side. We’ll also be announcing some updates on the PPE side in addition to the announcement we made a week ago on the contact tracing and today, as it relates to the distribution of the vaccine. With that, happy to take any questions.
Speaker 1: (39:30)
Adam Beam, AP.
Adam Beam: (39:31)
Thank you, Governor. On September 25th, Dr. Ghaly said that the state was forecasting a possible 89% increase in hospitalizations by October 25th. And even with what you term as the decline and the rate of decline, hospitalizations are down since Dr. Ghaly’s forecasts. I was just wondering, why is that? Was the model wrong, or are people doing a better than expected job of following virus protocols? And when it comes to the issue of the vaccine, was curious if the state will proceed in the same way if Joe Biden is elected president.
Gavin Newsom: (40:09)
Yeah, we will. Just on that, let me touch to that. We have Dr. Ghaly here. He can answer to the extraordinary work that many people have done to wear face coverings and to abide by the rules and regulations. And I think our efforts in terms of testing and isolation and quarantine have all advanced those efforts, and I’m very proud of his work in that respect and bending the proverbial curve, so to speak, in terms of some of these projections. But again, Dr. Ghaly will speak to that. But as it relates to whoever the president is, we want verified, independent analysis. 40 million Americans that happen to live in California deserve that. There’s been, frankly, a lot of politicization. I don’t think this is any way, shape, or form of news around vaccinations.
Gavin Newsom: (40:55)
And we have to make sure that they’re safe and they’re effective, and that we’re monitoring not just the distributions and the access of vaccines, but monitoring the aftermath and monitoring people’s health long after the vaccines are distributed and applied. And that’s also part of our planning and our protocols. So, it doesn’t matter who the next president is. We’re going to maintain our vigilance. We are going to do what California is well known to do, and that is to make sure that we have redundancy. And we maintain our vigilance to have a second set of eyes on the things that are being asserted and the information that’s being provided. But with that, let me provide you Dr. Ghaly, who will answer more directly his projection. And based upon the current trends, I’m glad that those numbers are not as acute as one may have projected just a few weeks back. Doctor?
Dr. Ghaly: (42:02)
Thank you, Governor. And yeah, thank you for the question. Indeed, we still track a model. I don’t know what it shows today about where we will be 30 days from now based on that model. I’ll update that tomorrow during our Zoom press conference, but certainly we have seen some stabilization. We, over the last week, saw a number of days where we had not just higher level of cases, but higher numbers in our hospitals. Over the past two days, we’ve seen some decrease in those numbers, which is, I think, good news. And we continue to watch these very closely. So again, we project out with the best models that we have, a really ensemble of different models from across the nation and across the globe to help us forecast where we might be 30 days from now.
Dr. Ghaly: (42:49)
But I emphasize if the conditions that we’re experiencing now maintain, we believe that through a number of efforts, the ongoing ability to do testing, get into communities where we see increased numbers of positives and begin to put those tools into place, testing, tracing, supportive isolation, helps us not just reduce the number of cases in that aftermath but ultimately reduce those number of hospital beds. I’m grateful for the work that we continue to do as Californians, our hospital partners across California as well. Our clinical partners who are doing great work with patients and delivering information to their communities in a trusted way, just as the governor mentioned that we’ll need to do and double down on as we work through the vaccine plans. We’re seeing those numbers stabilize, and who knows? We’re seeing a lot of movement in numbers across the nation and across the globe, and we’re holding our course in California and hope that that will continue to keep us on this strong and steady path.
Gavin Newsom: (43:55)
And just to underscore… Again, I want to maintain my optimism because I am optimistic by nature, but I also want to maintain some trust by being realistic. This is the 14-day. I’ll put the hospitalization slide back up. You’ll see on the hospitalization slide a 4% decrease over a 14-day period. If I put up a 7-day slide, that slide would show a positive increase, not a decrease, would see an increase of 0.7%. The same would be true of ICU admissions. Here’s a 3% decrease in ICU admissions over a 14-day period. If I put a 7-day slide, it would show an increase of 5.4%. We’ve been traditionally using 14-days slides, but an increase is still the case for ICU and hospitalizations over 7-day period. Even though we have a 2.4% positivity rate, ICU admissions and hospitalizations have increased modestly over that same 7-day period.
Gavin Newsom: (45:01)
So again, Dr. Ghaly and these models, they’re dynamic. By the way, we’re open source, these models. We’re the first state to put all these models up to international scrutiny, and I remind all of you, those open APIs that we announced a few months back. Very proud of that, and proud of the input that we’re receiving from folks in their living rooms, not just experts, that are providing invaluable insight as it relates to the efficacy of these models and the dynamic nature of these models based upon new inputs that are provided on a consistent basis. Next question?
Speaker 1: (45:36)
[inaudible 00:13:37], SF Chronicle.
Maggie Angst: (45:42)
Hi, Governor. I wanted to ask you about this second/third wave that you mentioned is picking up in a lot of states across the country. California has not seen that yet. And I was wondering if in your efforts to guard against that, you are considering any kind of quarantine for travelers coming from those states that are seeing really high case loads right now, the way New York or Hawaii did earlier this year.
Gavin Newsom: (46:16)
Yeah, thank you for the question. The answer is not yet. We always maintain an openness to those considerations, but no, that’s not part of our current planning. We, again, are concerned about what’s happening all across the United States. We monitor that as you monitor that in real time. The case numbers again continue to look favorable from California’s perspective. But even as we experienced our first wave, we never broke 8% positivity over a 14-day period. It’s an important point to make, that California’s out-fared… I don’t want to say performed, because that connotes a lot of things. But we have done better than other states that have experienced what they may construe as a second wave.
Gavin Newsom: (47:02)
We did a little better in terms of our first wave, never, again, breaking 8% positivity over a 14-day period. But we’ve had to be tough, and we’ve had to be vigilant, and we have to be mindful of the changing dynamics of this pandemic. And so both external dynamics, as well as internal, California only dynamics… All of those things we’ll consider in real time, and be open to subsequent considerations depending on what conditions persist and what conditions are introduced as it relates to this next wave of the pandemic.
Speaker 1: (47:42)
Jeremy White, POLITICO.
Jeremy White: (47:47)
Last week, when some of these Republican ballot boxes started appearing, you accused the party of being willing to lie, cheat, and threaten our democracy and said the ballot boxes were illegal. The California Secretary of State and Attorney General seem to have determined that the boxes can stay for now.
Speaker 2: (48:03)
… attorney general seemed to have determined that the boxes can stay for now as they investigate, particularly given that the party took that official label off of one of the boxes. I’m curious to know if you stand by those pretty harsh words and whether you have any additional thoughts on that situation?
Gavin Newsom: (48:16)
The answer is yes, I do, and I applaud the secretary of state and the attorney general for the seriousness of purpose and the seriousness at which they’re taking this rather blatant abuse. So I maintain that statement.
Speaker 3: (48:31)
Stephanie Sierra, ABC7.
Stephanie Sierra: (48:35)
Hi, governor, a big concern for our nursing homes and long-term care facilities across the state when it comes to vaccine distribution is cold chain storage. Most of the facilities don’t have the capacity to accommodate the storage we know will be needed for certain vaccines, and I know you touched on this earlier, but if you could get more specific on how exactly the COVID Task Force is looking into this.
Gavin Newsom: (48:56)
Yeah, I’ll go back to a slide because I want to underscore, and I appreciate your question, the importance of this issue of storage. It’s an important point that’s often not part of the conversation as it relates to distribution of vaccines is, they need to be stored, and they need to be stored in an extraordinarily challenging environment.
Gavin Newsom: (49:16)
Again, certain vaccines, we’re working, again, to plan for two specific vaccines. This is vaccine A, the ultra cold storage requirements, vaccine B the cold storage requirements, 70 degrees below Celsius, 20 degrees below Celsius. Both requiring dry ice, both requiring a logistics operation that is very challenging in the best of times, but obviously, as it relates to a global pandemic, with a constraint on supply with the challenges based upon demand even more difficult.
Gavin Newsom: (49:51)
So that’s exactly why we put together our logistics task force here at the Office of Emergency Services. It’s exactly why we have this internal task force we had put together in April, as it relates to the distribution of vaccines. These are the experts. These folks understand how to do this, and they have done it in the past with other vaccine distributions that require similar ultra and cold storage.
Gavin Newsom: (50:17)
The question that you pose though, is a specific one, and that’s exactly why we announced to today 11 experts in their field that understand distribution, financing, epidemiology, data collection, understand the panoply of issues that will be required to ultimately advance this effort to the most vulnerable populations, and you were right to identify our skilled nursing facilities, front and center, top in terms of that list as well.
Speaker 3: (50:51)
Maggie Angst, The Mercury News.
Maggie Angst: (50:56)
Hi, governor, thank you for taking our questions. I wanted to ask for a little more detail on the phases of the vaccine distribution plan. You know, it’s divided into phases one, two and three. Phase one has been subdivided into A and B, first, the healthcare workers, and then to those who are at risk of severe illnesses and deaths and essential workers. For those in the B section of phase one, should they be expecting to get this vaccine by the end of this year? Can you explain a little bit more about how long it would take to roll this out to all of phase one?
Gavin Newsom: (51:37)
So the answer to the question requires information that no one currently has in this country, anyone who is asserts is just doing that, asserting a point of view, and it’s difficult to quantify whether or not they can back that point of view up with actual data and specificity. For the purposes of our vaccine plan, the one that we submitted last week to the federal government, the one we’ve been working more closely in terms of the micro planning efforts, as one of five jurisdictions with the DOD, not just the CDC, we are working under assumptions. Again, assumptions that may not materialize related to those two vaccines.
Gavin Newsom: (52:18)
I remind you those vaccines, vaccine A and B, Pfizer, Moderna, one requiring ultra cold storage, one requiring just cold storage. Both those vaccines are limited in scope and scale and the working assumptions for the nation of the information that was provided to us based upon our collaboration were on the high end, and I’ll remind you, the high end, 45 million doses. Now that is a very limited supply for the nation.
Gavin Newsom: (52:51)
Let’s work for planning purposes through an estimate of 12% of those vaccines coming to the state of California. Let’s work on that high end assumption of 45 million. You’ll get a sense of the limited number of vaccines or rather doses that have to be used twice over a 21 day period, or distributed twice, and that limits then the availability. I noted a moment ago that there are roughly, depending on how you analyze our healthcare workforce, anywhere from one and a half to 2 million workers, just in the healthcare workforce. That doesn’t include all our first responders, that doesn’t include all of our other critical workforce that will be prioritized.
Gavin Newsom: (53:32)
So when it comes to your question of priority A, priority B, and I’ll go to this slide on the priority B being the high risk groups. Again, so you’ll get a sense. Those are the 65 and over, critical workforce in our long-term care facilities, as well as the patients in our long-term care facilities, right on the top of that list, and those with and others. It is unlikely that they will see a substantial distribution, or rather have the availability of a substantial distribution of vaccines by the end of the calendar year, quite the contrary.
Gavin Newsom: (54:11)
So I think there’s been … Look, I understand the prevailing winds where people are pushing optimism because we’re desperate for it, and we’re all longing for a, when is this thing over question to be answered, when can I get this vaccine? When can I get my kids back to school? When can I go back to work? When can I reopen my doors of my business? And the sober reality is, and this is the sober reality, the expectation should not, cannot be this calendar year. For the overwhelming majority of us to get to where we need to go as a nation, as a state, that will not happen until 2021.
Gavin Newsom: (54:56)
The real question is when, in 2021, are we going to see broad availability and distribution of tens of millions, dare I say, hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine made readily available in a way we can be confident about the efficacy of the vaccine and the impact of the vaccine on immunity because that remains an open-ended question is, do you need another vaccine after receiving two doses of this vaccine? And that is a deeper, more challenging question to answer. That’s one that’s being asked and answered in trials all around the world, including many that are advanced here in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (55:47)
We’ll be hearing many other brands, not just the two Moderna and Pfizer, rolling out what they believe are the answer to those questions, and that is a sober reality as it relates to working our way through this. I completely reject the lazy science, almost the TV punditry, as it relates to some notion of herd immunity or someone that happens to work for one of our great universities saying you don’t wear masks and just everybody go out and experience the disease so we can get it over with, that somehow that is a solution.
Gavin Newsom: (56:27)
So I reject that and I think the vast majority of us do, and most of us are aligned with science, and with this sober understanding that we are going to be in 2021 working our way, slogging our way through the distribution of millions and millions of these doses of vaccine.
Speaker 3: (56:52)
Final question. [Terra Linda 00:00:56:53], LA Times.
Terra Linda: (56:56)
Just to clarify, are you saying that no COVID-19 vaccine at all will be distributed in California, either through public health or private healthcare systems until the state reviews and approves it?
Gavin Newsom: (57:09)
Correct. We will review, that’s why my advisory committee is up and running. They’ll review the assertions, they’ll make independent determinations and the voracity and efficacy of these immunizations, these doses. So we have this part and parcel of our protocol and planning that we put forward, 11 members, that task force, we’ve made those members and those individuals public, and some of the finest universities in this country are represented in terms of the experts that we are bringing from those universities on to this safety advisory work group.
Gavin Newsom: (57:48)
So it’s one of many, by the way, work groups that we have. We talk in terms of logistics. We’ve talked about some other work groups in this space, community advisors that we’ll also be announcing soon. We are basically putting together a group of individuals that can cross reference, monitor independently with integrity and character of their resumes and their reputations at play, the work that’s being done, not just by the federal government, the CDC, but by the state itself and by the private sector.
Gavin Newsom: (58:21)
Speaking of which, I’ll close with this, we look forward to announcing our public private partnership next Monday with PerkinElmer. Talk about the work that’s been done on building out one of the largest facilities of its type in this country here in the state of California and how we are working against the prevailing winds of less and advancing the framework of more testing availability here in the state of California and the work that we have in front of us, as it relates to addressing our second wave and the likelihood of nation experiencing a third wave of this pandemic.
Gavin Newsom: (58:57)
As always, let’s continue to be vigilant, let’s maintain the hard work and the past practices that have helped us mitigate the spread of this disease in the last number of months. Tomorrow let’s look forward to Dr. Ghaly’s presentation and update on tiered status and some new guidelines that will be put out on issues related to theme parks, and hopefully as early as late this week, early next week, on team sports and other guidelines. Take care everybody.