Apr 23, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript April 23
Governor Gavin Newsom of California held a coronavirus press conference today, April 23. Newsom said yesterday was the “deadliest day” for California. Read the full transcript with his updates.
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Governor Gavin Newsom: (05:49)
Good afternoon. I wanted to talk a little bit today about debt, student loan debt first and a commitment that we have received in partnership with a number of other states led by the extraordinary leadership of JB Pritzker, my friend, the Governor of Illinois. 21 out of the 24 largest student loan servicers in the state of California have agreed to a 90-day forbearance on student loan debt impacting over 1.1 million Californians with loan debt. No burden now placed on them over the next 90 days, no impact to their credit rating, no late fees or fines and actual support in terms of getting new payment plans in place for future processing. I want to again just congratulate JB on his leadership on organizing this framework profoundly important to student loan borrowers in the state of California. I want to just applaud those 21 of those 24 service loan providers or servicers for their willingness to step up and help support those that are struggling to pay their student loan debts.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (07:10)
The second debt-related announcement I wanted to make was in relationship to the CARES Act. Many of you have received checks from the CARES Act, some individuals receiving $1,200 checks, those with children additional $500 contributions. But a lot of those checks if you had debt were garnished by debt collectors. We just signed, I just signed an executive order quite literally moments ago where that no longer will be the case. The executive order denies the ability for debt collectors to garnish your CARES Act dollars.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (07:47)
It’s also retroactive. If you’re a debt collector and you did garnish those contributions, those checks, you got to give them back. That is effective immediately. I want to just thank my legal team for organizing that framework over the last few days we have been putting together that executive order and advancing a principle that I think is appropriate under the economic circumstance. That is the nature of this emergency and crisis for individuals and families now is not the time to garnish those emergency contribution checks.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (08:22)
There is a caveat, however, because we have a family first focus. If you owe child care, if you owe spousal support, this does not apply to you. If you are an individual that receives a check, but has a responsibility to a victim or a victim’s account, that will continue as well. But for everyone else, no debt collector can take those direct payments any longer in the state of California. We are assured that you will be able to claw back any of those contributions from the Feds that perhaps had been taken away by those same debt collectors.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (09:01)
Student loans, some relief at least over the next 90 days for borrowers, 1.1 million, the state of California and all of those that have debt that are attached to the CARES Act, we hope this provides that second announcement some relief as well. I also want to express my debt of gratitude to a group of doctors that moments ago, at noon today, just took off from the state of California flying into LaGuardia tonight. 14 doctors working in partnership with an organization of physicians, of physician groups from the CMA to Vituity, a group that organizes physicians. They’re joining these 14 doctors, two doctors from UC Davis that are already in New York to work with the city of New York and their hospital and health system. Dr. Mitch Katz, who may be familiar to some of us out here in the state of California, used to run the healthcare system down in Los Angeles, formerly in the city of San Francisco. He runs it for the largest healthcare delivery system in our country, at least subnationally, and that’s the city of New York. We are working in partnership with him. Mark Galley, who knows Mitch very well, helped organize this partnership and this collaboration. So 16 doctors leaving today, or at least joining two, 14 leaving today that will arrive tonight to help support for a two-week period the needs of our fellow Americans in New York City. I just want to express my, again, deep, deep gratitude and debt of gratitude to their willingness to really meet this moment in a profound and significant way.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (10:53)
I want to also just extend a gratitude, it hasn’t been highlighted. I wanted to make sure it was that UCSF had already sent 20 doctors and nurses for a similar purpose. State of California, 36 doctors and nurses are now deployed into New York. Again, it’s the spirit of our times, the spirit of this moment. For those that may be dispirited by it saying, “No, wait. We need those doctors and nurses.” Let me remind you of the announcement we made yesterday to actually pull back on our stay-at-home orders and allow scheduled surgeries to once again go into effect or at least be performed in our healthcare delivery system and our hospital system because of the work we have done to decompress the system, increase the total supply of alternative care sites so we could meet our needs and meet a potential surge into the future.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (11:48)
One of the great benefits of these doctors going out onto the front lines in New York is what they’ll bring back, which is a deep understanding and knowledge of what’s happening in the most acute point of the crisis in this country and being able to bring that to bear here in the state of California. This is an incredible opportunity for all of us in California, not just the generosity of these individuals to another state. Again, this is a wonderful thing. I’m very proud and pleased to make this announcement today on behalf of those doctors, on behalf of those systems and those provider groups and just again express my gratitude. It’s two weeks and then two weeks of quarantine. It’s a one-month sacrifice of these individuals. That’s a big deal. Again, we thank them.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (12:38)
I also want to just thank, yesterday I announced that the President was extending support for new swabs, to get more specimens to increase our testing capacity. We got word today that 100,000 swabs that he committed this week, 90,000 are arriving and we’ll start to distribute them in the next day or so. That’s very encouraging. I know it’s not the 100,000, but they told me they’ll make up for that 10,000 next week when the 250,000 arrives. Conversation, commitment, a promise made, a promise kept, 90,000 on the way to be distributed tomorrow.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (13:17)
I also want to just extend in terms of numerical considerations and numbers, a depth of gratitude for all of you that signed up for the californiansforall.ca. gov website. Remember, just two days ago we had a call to ask for people to volunteer their time, intention, their passion, and their sense of purpose to a cause bigger than themselves and we would match that cause geographically to an area of interest. Over 22,000 people just in the first day signed up and went on that site. I just want to thank all of you that did do that and all of you that are thinking about it, just remind you californiansforall.ca.gov. That website’s available …
Governor Gavin Newsom: (14:03)
… Forall.ca.gov that website’s available to you to roll up your sleeve and do a little phone banking, help out the food banks, maybe go to a blood bank and donate blood or provide other kinds of talents and supports. And again, it’s a dynamic site and one of the first offerings and one of the most impactful things the first cohort of volunteers is doing is making neighbor to neighbor phone calls, particularly to seniors that are struggling with social isolation. Others are doing food deliveries, but even those phone calls go a long way and make a big, big difference. Also want to just express gratitude to the folks that EDD, lot of attention on unemployment insurance in this state, but just since March 15th just since March 15th the state of California has distributed 3.944 billion close to five or excuse me, close to $4 billion of unemployment insurance has been distributed. $3.94 billion.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (15:08)
Interestingly and coincidentally to 3.9 million individuals. Just since March 15th. And I say that to make this point, none of us are naive about the responsibility we have as a state and as administration to make sure that call center gets cleaned up and we do more at continuing to process those claims, almost a billion dollars of claims since Sunday have been distributed. Just give you a totality of what’s out in the millions that have been processed. Just in a number of weeks we had over 1,300 people I announced that were redeployed well over a week ago. We got the phone lines operational eight to eight and seven days a week, not just five days a week from eight till noon, and in that process we’re continuing to process more claims and address some of the anxiety around getting access to an individual human being to answer the phone. We’re adding a few hundred more personnel to that task and we have some business process improvement strategies we’re organizing with covered California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (16:17)
A lot of best practices were taken from their call centers and other … Our tax board. It’s interesting. Everybody’s coming together, not just, again, to increase points of access, but the quality of the interaction as well. So I just want to head that off, let you know. We are working over time on that. We have a wonderful team led again by Julie Su, and we start every morning call and she reminds everybody we’re on it, we’re doing more, we’ve got to do better, we understand we have to do better, but I just do … I do want to just extend my gratitude for the close to $4 billion that they have processed just since March 15. For what it’s worth, 3.3 million people have filed claims since March 12th. You may wonder why we’ve distributed 3.9 million checks and only 3.3 million people have filed claims. Those were folks who were in the queue before March 12th, but March 12 marks a moment where we started to see a big spike in the total number of applications and the total number of requests.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (17:23)
Speaking of requests, every day we’re requested to appropriately update you on the total number of lives lost to this virus, number of hospitalization, ICU, and as well number of people that have tested positive. Let me briefly go through those. Yesterday was the deadliest day for this virus in the state. 115 human beings lost their lives. Families torn apart. It was the deadliest day in the state of California. I don’t say that lightly on, I don’t say that certainly cheerfully. I don’t say that except in any one those individuals, each one of those numbers represents family represents a life lost, and a journey that their families will be on and their loved ones that is very different than the one that predates their passing of that loved one. But it’s also a reminder, we’re not out of the woods yet. I know there’s deep desire. People are making calls on an hourly basis saying it’s time to open back up.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (18:25)
Consider the deadliest day in the state of California in the last 24 hours, 8.5% increase in the total number of deaths. We saw 5.6% increase in the total number of people tested positive in the state of California, but there was some positive news despite those numbers and that was for the first day we have been putting together our number of hospitalizations and number of ICU patients. We saw four things happen at the same time. I mentioned just a few days ago we saw the first thing happened at the same time, and that was the number of hospitalizations in our ICUs declined together. That happened again today, hospitalizations down 0.4%, and 1.2% decline in ICUs. But what happened was also significant, was also significant. A number of what we call PUIs. These are persons under investigation and both for hospitalizations and for our ICUs, we saw those persons under investigations drop as well, so all four of those categories dropped.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (19:37)
Only reinforcing what we advanced yesterday. Some stabilization in that curve, but with deaths and still positives going up. Again, I caution people that we’re not out of the woods and that’s why I continue to encourage all of you to do what you’ve done. That led to, that stabilization leads me to announce those four categories are beginning to decline and leads me to further the call of practicing physical distancing, social distancing and appropriately wearing face coverings when you cannot practice physical distancing at the grocery store or elsewhere. Look, we’re walking into a very warm weekend, the most beautiful weekend to the extent you love warm weather since January at least, or since arguably last summer in the state of California, and that means people are prone to want to go to beaches, parks, playgrounds, and go on a hike and I anticipate there’ll be a significant increase in volume, but I also think if there is and people aren’t practicing physical distancing, I’ll be announcing in a week or so these numbers going back up.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (20:45)
I don’t think anybody wants to hear that. I don’t want to share that information, but that’s really less up to me. It’s more up to all of you and the peer pressure, the social pressure, making a phone call the next few days. Maybe you’ve got a teenage son or nephew, niece and you think, well you know what? I should check in with Bobby and just say, “Hey, I know you are likely to want to get to a beach, but just be careful if you do, make sure it’s open and if it’s not open, abide by the rules. If it is open, just abide by social distancing practice, physical distancing.” Let’s not [inaudible 00:07:24]. and I just want to again encourage people to be safe, stay at home to the extent possible and practice physical distancing. We’ll continue to practice what we preach and that is constant and never any updates to you on our thinking about how the six indicators that we highlighted yesterday, one deeply highlighted on testing, what those indicators are telling us and how they’re guiding us in terms of next steps and next announcements.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (21:51)
Yesterday we made that first announcement again to begin to pull back on our state of home order. That’s a positive side, but it was the indicator that gave us that green light gave us that sign. We need to see other green lights and those other indicators provide us similar guidance in terms of making decisions. It won’t be a letter I receive, a tweet, it won’t be the expression of frustration that I and all of you share in terms of the stay at home order. It will be those indicators that drive our decision making, not dates. We don’t debate dates. We look at the facts objectively. We’re not ideologues. I’m not an ideologue. I’m open to arguments and interested in evidence, and I’m well aware of the arguments of regionalism in this state. I’m well aware that this state, as I often say, is many parts, not just one body.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (22:43)
I recognize a differentiation, not only between regions in this state but even within cities and counties in this state. And we monitor, we mark that and we understand that in detail and we see that nuance and that data is all matched up and collected, put through that lens of the six key indicators and that roadmap to recovery. And I can assure you in real time, and I hope that’s every few days, we’re going to make announcements as we toggle, again, move that dimmer up and down. Not this light switch, because there’s no such thing as reopening and back to normal. It’s normal with caveats. It’s reopening with conditions. This virus, we are not immune from this virus. There is no vaccine for this virus. There are no therapeutics that have yet been identified that we can distribute, manufacture at scale to mitigate the impacts of this disease.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (23:41)
The disease killed more people in the state of California in the last 24 hours than any previous 24 hours. We still have more positives in this state every day. So disease continues to spread and we need to continue to spread the word of vigilance and maintain our values to one another. And the value, again that we hold dear is this notion that we’re all in this together. It’s not individuals, it’s individual acts on behalf of collective community that will save lives and get the economy back much sooner than we otherwise would if we go back into fits and starts. And so I assure you, I’m looking forward to starting up this engine and this economy. In closing, before I open it up to questions, I want you to know that we had a wonderful conversation yesterday. I had the privilege of getting the counsel of all the ex living governors in the state of California, two Republicans and two Democrats.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (24:38)
We spent an hour together talking about their ideas and strategies, their unique experiences when they were facing budget shortfalls and economic challenges, earthquakes, fires, floods, so many things we’re very familiar with in the state of California. And then we had a conversation with some of the most well known icons in business and social justice, and had a remarkable conversation, former fed chair Janet Yellen, providing guidance on economic recovery and growth. Tim Cook of Apple talking about best practices and how they reopened overseas, particularly in China and what those conditions look like, what the triggers look like, all of that helping inform us. And I socialize that with you to just know that this area is quite a deep focus and a deep passion. I don’t want to talk too much about my own background, but I remind many of you of my entrepreneurial background.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (25:33)
I didn’t start in politics. I started as a guy who put pen to paper, got 17 investors, $7,500 each, part time employee Pat Kelly, small little business right out of college and was able to grow that business, a dozen plus businesses throughout the state of California that I was pleased and proud in my past to have been part of. And so I say this as an expression of passion and a sense of purposefulness. My passion for entrepreneurial-ism, my passion for economic growth and energy that we all want to see restored in the state of California. I share that and I share the deep anxiety so many of you are feeling in that space. Final words because those businesses are also being impacted in ways that I think deserve even more attention and need to be highlighted. I could not be more pleased with the announcement because of the incredible leadership of our leader, speaker, Nancy Pelosi, in partnership with those in the Senate and others to get this new stimulus.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (26:38)
We’ll see more PPP money. This is that loan program and forgiveness program for small businesses. California got 9.76% of those federal dollars, below where we should have, in the last round. We hope to do much better in this next round. We have two SBA loan programs. As you may recall, we were the first to apply for one of them as a state, first to get the waiver, and first to grant one of those SBA loans and economic injury account. We actually have outperformed in that account and in another SBA account, which is the disaster assistance accounts. We received 14.7 and 26.8% of those federal dollars, so we’re doing well in the SBA loans, we didn’t do as well in the PPP loans.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (27:27)
I say that to make this point, we have the opportunity, because of this next stimulus, to draw down even more money into the state of California. Those loans are lives as well, dreams as well. People put up everything on the line as entrepreneurs and they’re just trying to hold on and work through this so they have a place for us to go. Those that are on unemployment to go, and have those businesses holding on is so foundational to our economic recovery. And so I highlight that as a point of emphasis because we are emphasizing the applications of those loans and the distributions of those loans. And we just want to make sure the business men-
Governor Gavin Newsom: (28:03)
The distribution of those loans and we just want to make sure the business men and women that are out there know that we want to be supportive and have your back. Go to covid19.ca.gov, covid19.ca.gov to links to those three loan programs and assistance. And I remind everybody final words before I open up to questions that we also created an additional loan program for micro loans for businesses that fall through the cracks of these SBA loans and this federal PPP program. We have distributed loans already in that account. 73% of them have been to women and minority owned businesses. That’s exactly what we were hoping to see is folks, these micro-businesses, the smaller mom and pop businesses that otherwise don’t have banking relationships, don’t have credit relationships, don’t have the traditional financial service sector relationships, that fall through the cracks, to be able to use that eye bank and try to apply for those loans. And we’re encouraged that we’re already seeing those loans being distributed in the state of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:08)
So much more work to do in that space, and we look forward to continue our partnerships with Senate, with the assembly, Bob Hertzberg, Senator Hertzberg, leading economic task force in the Senate, coming up with already some wonderful ideas. I really look forward to the partnership as we develop a roadmap to recovery in concert, in council, in partnership with our assembly and Senate leaders as well that I know deeply care about small businesses, micro loans and economic opportunity being extended across the panoply of sectors in the state of California.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (29:46)
So that’s the overview for the day. Happy of course to answer any questions.
Speaker 2: (29:52)
Nicole Nixon, Capital Public Radio.
Nicole Nixon: (29:56)
Hi governor. Can you give us a sense of how many counties and cities have reached out to you about their plans to reopen and your sort of process for finding agreement with those communities?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:09)
Look, I think a lot has been written about a lot of the counties and most have made public their desires and requests, boards of supervisors have sent letters, mayors have sent letters, legislative leaders have sent public letters. I haven’t even received them, but I read about them and I say that lovingly because I recognize the spirit of the moment, and they are many. I don’t know the exact number, but you’ve all I think written very comprehensively about this and not surprisingly, there are many others out there in real time that may have just come in the last few minutes.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (30:44)
There’s a deep desire to know when and as I said, it’s not a date, it’s an indicator and it goes through the prism of these six specific indicators. And that’s the response we have when we have those conversations with County leaders and business leaders, with a rotary club leaders, with mayors, city council members, and we say, look, if we can work together and we can work to advance our collective cause of safely reopening by making sure all of us are checking off the same list, then we’re going to be able to advance some loosening of our stay at home orders sooner as opposed to chasing folks down that get ahead of themselves only to find that perhaps they went too soon, too fast.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (31:28)
I don’t even need to remind you just interesting national conversation we’re having about other States and even the president commenting about one particular state where he felt there needed to be some reconsideration of those recommendations. It’s just an expression of the obvious that all of us are trying to work this out in real time, but at the end of the day, for us, it’s not top down, it’s a bottom up process. Recognizing each region is unique and distinctive and we really want to think about this regionally as a framework. Regions rising back up together, but we’ve got to stay together to extent possible, but I recognize 480 plus cities, 58 counties, that’s a challenge and we’re going to try to manage that challenge as effectively and efficiently as we can.
Speaker 2: (32:15)
Harman Dickerson, Fox 40
Harman Dickerson: (32:20)
This back to testing. This question is about maximizing the existing capacity, for example, Barely in Sacramento has a max of testing 350 plus people, but they’ve been averaging about 215 appointments a day and 165 people tested, if they’ve never gotten to their scheduling or their testing capacity. And they also have put out a push to get more people tested, however, as people are doing the screener for an appointment, even if you say you have sent them preexisting conditions, people are still being told they don’t qualify. Also, their list of essential workers, it’s prioritized to help care first responders and corrections, nothing about grocery workers or postal workers or journalists, the other people who are out and about. So when asked about the criteria for testing, that County basically says it’s up to the state. So given that they are testing less than half their capacity, should those screening standards be relaxed? And what oversight is there to ensure that all of the testing sites and future abilities will be maximized?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (33:17)
As you know, we put together a testing task force over a week ago. They’re very organized deliberatively work through that testing protocol on a daily basis and make adjustments. I’ll just give you an example, those 90,000 swabs per specimen collections that works through the process of this task force in terms of how they’ll organize that distribution. Yesterday we made the announcements of the expansion of six additional sites with Verily and partnership with Verily and we also made announcement two days ago about the lifting of the criteria and Herm terms of who we’re prioritizing for testing to asymptomatic, not just symptomatic individuals. We do throw through a multiple lens. We’re the first state in the country to do that, to make that announcement and to begin to advance a loosening of those guidelines very directly along the lines of your question. So the answer’s yes. We are adjusting those guidelines and have done so in making sure we socialize them throughout our entire testing system.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:22)
But the idea is a simple one. We have individuals that work is LVNs at Sniffs. A young individual may not have any symptoms but may actually have the disease and is spreading the disease. We think those vulnerable individuals, individually themselves, but also to their friends, family and professionally, they should be part of our testing strategy.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (34:48)
So it’s focused on that subset, we’ve taken that lid off in terms of the testing priorities and expanded them and that should certainly help. I also want to extend the expansion, not just to Verily, Verily is one of our many, many providers, but we made a significant announcement yesterday, Optum serve 80 additional sites. These are end-to-end testing sites. There’ll be distributed all throughout the state of California, rural parts of the state. That’s happening in real time. Those 80 sites are going out today, tomorrow, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, you’re going to see these things set up and so you’re going to see a real loosening of the criteria and the restrictions, significant increase in the total number of tests, over 482,000 tests now conducted. We’re getting closer and closer to that 25,000 goal of tests every single day. We got to do much better than that within the next 30 days and 60 days better still.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (35:49)
We’ve got that Abbott announcement we made yesterday. We did a followup with Abbott. There was a question yesterday around the serology tests. I made an announcement and I appreciated one of the reporters wisely said, “Did you say 1.1 million serology tests that you have procured from Abbott?” And she was correct. It was 1.1 million. Today, just in the natural give and take as we work with Abbott, not just on serology, but the PCR tests of which were procuring more tests there, they are ready to start distributing those. It’s not months away. Turns out they’re ready to send those tests to the state, so it’s both PCR tests, the ones you’re referring to with Verily, and then these serology tests, which you’re going to see a significant expansion.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (36:38)
I’ll just remind you briefly, and this is an extension beyond perhaps your interest and your query directly, but as you know, it’s been well written about. There’ve been two sero surveillance tests that have been done at scale in the state of California, the Stanford tests for over 3,300 individuals earlier this month and the one in partnership with USC in LA County that was done. LA county’s continues. They’re going to continue to do more of their surveillance, and the one in Stanford generated a lot of attention for many different reasons, but again, that’s also part of the broader testing ecosystem, not just diagnostic tests, but also antibody tests and also the community surveillance. That also is part and parcel of everything that’s happening in this space. But the good news is 2000 tests a day, March, now averaging over 16,000 a day on our way to 25,000 by the end of the month, and then multiples of that very soon thereafter.
Speaker 2: (37:50)
Marissa Perlman, CBS 13
Governor, thank you for taking our phone call. As you’ve continued to speak about this May model, we haven’t seen the data or the evidence or the indicators to support that. Where is that data? And also, we as journalists of course have so many questions throughout this panel. Often we don’t get answers via phone call or email unless we by chance get called on during these briefings. How well can we get our questions and our viewers questions answered?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (38:25)
I’ve got a whole team of people and they give me an update on the query, so we’re answering dozens and dozens of questions every day in some cases, every hour. And to the extent yours having, we’ll try to fix that. I appreciate your recognition that every single day, I make myself available to you to the extent possible for these noon press conferences. And in addition to that, as you know, we try to make ourselves available, radio shows, TV, everything we can possibly do that doesn’t get in the way of actually doing our jobs. So I’ll check in and make sure we are answering whatever questions you may have remaining.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (39:02)
But specifically to your question and thank you for it, as it relates to this May model, I’m not sure specifically which may model you’re referring to. We put out our modeling update last Friday. We’ll be doing that again very shortly, but I have Dr. Galley here, and when you don’t have the answer to a question, it’s always best to defer to someone that does. And so let me ask Dr. Galley to come up and perhaps he knows more specific about the May model you’re referring to.
Dr. Galley: (39:36)
Good afternoon. Thank you for the question. We have in weeks past put out a conversation showing how our modeling runs through about May 20th. We also talked about how in recent weeks as we’ve looked at our actuals, so I remind you there are many models we have created and used one in California to help guide our planning and thinking, but we always come back to what we’re actually seeing on the ground.
Dr. Galley: (40:04)
So as we’ve looked at those models and looked at our actuals, we see that our actuals are actually climbing at the lower end of the range of what our model showed. And so we continue to be in that range and we are seeing what is a very slow rise even to the point of calling that a plateau in our cases, well actually in our hospitalizations in ICU and as our testing numbers rise, we hope to see the same in our cases.
Dr. Galley: (40:33)
So as we trend that out, those are exactly the data that feed into our indicators that allow us to make announcements like were made yesterday around re-introducing health services that have been delayed over this period of stay at home order. So we continue to look at those models, but we are guided both by what those trends are into the future, but largely through the actuals that we’re seeing today.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:04)
Dr. Galley: (41:04)
Carla Meranuchi. Politico.
Hi governor. Senetor Mitch McConnell has sparked a firestorm by suggesting that hard hit state shall get federal aid in future legislation that they instead consider bankruptcy. And we’ve heard from both the governors of New York and New Jersey today, they’ve pushed back hard on this, governor Cuomo, saying that New York puts in billions more, Kentucky takes out billions more from the federal pot. California is also a donor state, but you have been silent on it so far. And what’s your reaction to the McConnell’s statement and do you have any message for him?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (41:38)
I haven’t been silent but we haven’t had a chance to talk directly. I expressed similar sentiments. Other governors have Democrats and Republican governors. As you know, Carla, we’ve long made the point that California has been a donor state. Interestingly, that’s no longer true. After the Salt Tax Reform, California actually is slightly below that…
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:03)
…actually is slightly below that normal position where we were contributing a little bit more salt actually set us back just slightly, but it is broadly true that these larger blue states disproportionately subsidizing some of the smaller, even the larger red states. It’s not case in every single circumstance, but neither here nor there. Look, my reaction is this, on behalf of tens of thousands of men and women in uniform, our police officers, our firefighters, our sheriffs, the folks quite literally saving lives.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (42:37)
People are putting their lives on the line every single day. The heroes that we highlight often and appropriately so, the nurses, so many of our frontline folks that are taking care of our children, our teachers, the heroes that have been recognized in this crisis in particular, on behalf of all of them, hundreds of thousands if not millions. Let me just say, his comments were offensive. Number two, I’ll just say this, states are laboratories of democracy. Cities are laboratories of innovation. If you care about democracy in innovation, you care about states, you care about cities. I hope and expect he’ll take back his comments.
Speaker 3: (43:21)
Alex Michelson, Fox 11
Alex Michelson: (43:25)
Governor, I have a question about the future of education. I know you’re one of the many parents that hope to have your kids back in a regular school in the fall, but even during the good times, so many of California schools were overcrowded. So I’m wondering if you can paint a picture for us of what education in the era of social distancing actually looks like and how do you pay for that?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (43:49)
Well, we were hoping to be able to advance with this school bond this year that fell a little short, that would have helped not only retrofit existing buildings, provide more high quality educational experience. Interesting big part of that was ventilation systems that would have helped with the flow of air and provided us more capacity and more resources for more broadband and the like. But unfortunately, voters didn’t want to support that at this time around economic uncertainty, et cetera. So we’ll have to work through that and around that.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:25)
But the good news is one of the great dynamics in situations like this is it forces an innovative mindset and an innovative spirit. And we really start thinking about tomorrow very differently with more clarity, more conviction. I was having a specific conversation after our economic recovery task force meeting about broadband for all, not with platitudes, but to actually deliver on what we have been promising and promoting, it seems for decades in this country. And what specifically it will take.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (44:56)
It’s been highlighted in your question around distance learning and those disparities. It’s been highlighted by my wife’s work with the superintendent of public education going out and raising the money to procure over 70,000 tablets and Chromebooks and computers to help kids plug something in virtually or physically when they’re home. And so it’s only underscored the imperative of answering the question in the immediate term, to continue to educate our kids through the end of this school year and then address their needs with a summer slide that will be even more acute this year. And we’re already working to figure out what that looks like in the summer and then moreover, prepare for a future where it’s more dynamic, more iterative, more frame of focus on not just teaching to a test, not just the drill and kill model of the lecture.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (45:54)
People then repeating and writing down what it is they’re being told, but a framework that’s dynamic around creative thinking, around the expression of creativity and self in a broader consciousness of what education is really about. It’s not just about teaching to the test and I know that our teachers recognize that and they want to unleash that in our education system as well. And I think we’re now at a stage where those conversations that have been siloed, are now being made public in a way that I think will allow us to process a very exciting and enlivening future of education, that will leap forward in years, what otherwise would have taken decades and it not been for this crisis.
Speaker 3: (46:36)
Final question, Candice Nguyen, NBC Bay Area.
Candace Nguyen: (46:41)
Governor. We’ve talked to students who say they have gone weeks without learning since the shutdown. Some districts weren’t prepared for distance learning, while others had a tough time keeping kids engaged. Is the state doing anything to provide more oversight either now or in the future if we get hit by second wave in the fall?
Governor Gavin Newsom: (46:59)
Yeah, look, we have to do better. I think we’ve had four, three or four conversations like this in our press conferences with the superintendent of public education, with the president of school board just a few days ago, one that included my wife, to directly answer the question you just asked today. We didn’t wait for the question, we tried to preempt it. Even a few weeks ago with the guidance we put out to all of these districts’ guidance by the way, that was shared with the National Governor’s Association as best practice for other states across our union.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (47:34)
The guidance, however, is not equally distributed in terms of capacity to deliver on it in districts, smaller and rural across the state and we know that and so the superintendent of public education, the president of school board and others working in partnership with labor and management, have been doing everything they can to do more and do better because we recognize those gaps persist and we recognize how damaging each and every day that, that gap advances, how meaningful the gap is in terms of the cumulative impact on a young child’s trajectory, a young child’s life.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (48:10)
That’s why I specifically just reverenced before your question, summer and already starting to figure out what we can do. But you always have this summer slide generally in terms of education and obviously that’s a tsunami this year of a slide backwards, if people aren’t even getting the basic curriculum and the basic kind of support they deserve at the moment. So look, the hundred and eight plus thousand wifi hotspots, that’s part of it and all these new Chromebooks and other things we’re doing, that’s part of it. Making sure these guidelines are dynamic, we’re doing webinars. Almost every week, there’s a webinar. We really dove deep into special education. All of that is fine, but we need to do more. And I recognize in the spirit of your question, you talked about the fall, sort of marking a real sense of urgency to make sure we build that architecture through this summer and we don’t wait at peril.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (49:10)
We’ll be getting questions like this again in four or five months and our kids don’t deserve to have these questions asked without having the ability to have them answered. So I appreciate your query and just know it’s a point of deep passion for ours. And if you hadn’t taken a look at what my wife and superintendent talked about a few days ago, go back, it’s on our website and learn a little bit more about what we are doing more substantively and specifically to address that question.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (49:40)
So look, I want to just once again address this question. That’s the elephant in the room. It’s the question all of us are asking and that’s when… I’ll let the extent the state of California is ready to answer that. I’ll let you know what the indicators say and when the indicators go green, I’m going to go live and I’m going to let you know in real time what our thinking is and what our directives and guidelines should be. But that is determined on one thing and that is you. Each and every one of you continuing to take this moment seriously, not just sitting back and saying, “Well, you know what, I’ve had enough of this cabin fever. I’m moving on. It’s a beautiful weekend. You know what, so be it if I get sick.”
Governor Gavin Newsom: (50:24)
I just remind you, your individual actions impact others and not only do I want to keep you healthy and safe, I want to keep others you come into contact, safe, particularly our seniors, particularly someone you may come in contact with at the grocery store that may look young and healthy, but may have just gone through a significant chemotherapy or some other issue that you may not see visibly where their immune system, where your decision can impact their lives. Just consider those interactions. Consider those examples.
Governor Gavin Newsom: (50:58)
Again, this is not a Republican virus or Democratic virus, not a rural virus or an urban virus. Folks in Kern County, folks in San Bernardino, folks into Larry with what’s happening in our skilled nursing facilities, this knows no geography. It’s impacting every part of the state of California, not just large coastal cities, not just New York, not just California. And so I’ll continue to just offer this, please stay at home, stay healthy, stay safe, and stay connected to others that are in need and that need your emotional support. And to the extent as always, you can contribute your time, your attention. Check out that website, californiansforall.ca.gov. Take care everybody.