May 6, 2020
Gov. Gavin Newsom California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript May 6
Governor Gavin Newsom of California held a press conference on Wednesday, May 6, on coronavirus. Newsom announced the expansion of worker’s compensation to all business sectors. Read the full transcript of his speech.
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Gavin Newsom: (00:00)
Their commitment to do 86 additional sites throughout the state. We’re able today to launch a new site called COVID19. Not a new site, a well known site, but a site that allows you to drill down and get more information about these testing sites if you go to covid19.ca.gov. If you go to the covid19.ca.gov website, you can now find the location by simply pressing in your zip code. You can provide more information if you wish, but if you just start with the zip code, you’ll see these testing sites come up on a map. You’ll see it through OptumServe, you’ll see it through Verily and through the community sites that we have partnered. The sites that are not included in this map are additional testing site at hospitals, but these are the sites that the State has contracted that are approximate, we hope within 30 to 60 minutes, depending on where you are in the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (00:59)
I recognize there are still some testing deserts and we have work to do to put more flags on that screen that you just saw, but we are making real progress in this space and we hope you take advantage of not only going to this site but getting your zip code inputted and then potentially, to the extent you wish, making a reservation, contacting that community tester, contacting Verily and/or OptumServe. and those are prompted on this site and you can literally make direct reservations for testing off the covid19.ca.gov website. So, that’s a new tool we wanted to socialize today, make it available to you.
Gavin Newsom: (01:42)
Again, we still have an enormous amount of work to do. This site will expose that but in a very transparent way. We’ve been very forthright in our recognition that we need to spread out our testing capacity and also deepen it in certain communities. This site will show the areas where we still have work to do. Again, it doesn’t include the hospital-based systems, so that’s just something for consideration, but it does give you a sense of what is out there and also a recognition that there still are some testing deserts in the State and we hope in real time through the good work of our testing task force, to make sure that we avail opportunities for everybody in those areas as well.
Gavin Newsom: (02:27)
Another thing we’ve been working on is, we’ve moved with the announcements earlier this week to discuss reopening our economy with modifications, reopening sectors of our economy with modifications and adapting and reopening parts of California, regional parts of California, with modifications, with variances based on criteria. That fundamental point that we needed to advance was the protection of our workers. A few weeks back, you may recall an announcement where we advanced support for workers in the food chain from farm workers to the folks on the front lines, the grocery lines and the State of California through expanding paid sick leave.
Gavin Newsom: (03:12)
As you may recall, the federal government provided sick leave expansion for employers less than 500 but not for some of these larger chains and their employers. In the State of California, we augmented that with the announcement we made a few weeks back with paid sick leave through that food supply chain. There were others though that were left out of that support, quite notably out of federal support. And those are the folks, the healthcare workers, the folks we rely on the most. And many of our first responders, firefighters, paramedics as an example, they were left out of the original sick leave announcements from the federal government and were not part of our previous announcements until today. I just signed an executive order to extend workers’ comp benefits in those sectors and now broaden it beyond just the healthcare and first responder sector to all sectors of our economy under what we call a rebuttable presumption. That may be confusing to some except to say this: if you’ve tested positive or been diagnosed with C19, with COVID-19 by a physician, you are eligible for this workers’ comp benefit. It can only be rebutted by your employer, but under strict criteria. So, this is a way of providing support to our critical workers that are essential in our capacity, not only to meet the needs of people today, but as we begin to enter into this new phase and start to reopen our economy, our essential for our capacity to deliver on the services that we want to expand and increase across the State of California.
Gavin Newsom: (05:01)
So I can assure you, without getting into the weeds, the sausage making here, people are very passionate in this space in terms of what they want to see, but this executive order will narrow the frame and at least provide some certainty of relief on this presumption for the next 60 days. It has a retroactivity to March 19th, but extends for a 60 day period and should provide some calm and relief to our healthcare workers that were otherwise scratching their head, wondering why they weren’t part of some of these original announcements, both at the Federal level and at the State level and I think do justice to the incredible heroism, particularly on National Nurses Day here in the United States of America, to say, thank you to our nurses. Thank you to our frontline heroes. Thank you to our firefighters, paramedics doing CPR and the like. Thank you for a job well done and this is the least we can do in terms of targeting that support on a rebuttable presumption for your workers’ comp.
Gavin Newsom: (06:10)
Again the whole idea is, as we move into this second phase, we want to keep workers healthy and keep them safe. The worst thing we can do is have a worker that has tested positive but doesn’t want to tell anybody and can spread the disease because he or she can’t afford not to work. And so, that’s why expanding to all sectors of our economy, this workers’ comp presumption is so important because we want people to feel confident and comfortable they’ll have their benefits. Of course, these are benefits after you’ve already exhausted and drawn down any federal benefits you otherwise may have accrued or other state benefits. There are provisions, there’s a criteria we lay out in this executive order, but I think it’s a very healthy step in the right direction, a critical step in the right direction as we move into this phase two.
Gavin Newsom: (07:06)
I’m pleased that we have our Director of Department of Industrial Relations. Victoria is here today to talk a little bit more about this program. It’s part of her larger and you probably wonder what Department of Industrial Relations is, but among many other responsibilities Victoria has, is making sure that our workers’ comp system is working, is operational. She has been working overtime with industry leaders, business as well as labor leaders all up and down the state and trying to forge to the extent we can, a framework of understanding and capacity and appreciation to be able to make this announcement today. I’d be remiss if we didn’t ask her to come up and talk a little bit more about this program and talk a little bit more about how you could avail yourself more understanding and knowledge about what this means potentially for you.
Thank you so much, Governor Newsom and for your great leadership in this space. As we know, workplace health and safety is public health and safety. This benefit applies to all workers, all of those frontline workers that are risking their health and safety. To ensure the health and production of all of us: our nurses, our first responders, janitors, warehouse workers, farm workers, grocery store workers, and all of those that are putting themselves on the line. This ensures that if you test positive or are diagnosed with COVID-19 that is later confirmed through subsequent testing and you report to work between March 19th and 60 days from today and that positive test or diagnosis is within 14 days of reporting to work, it is presumed that you contacted COVID-19 through the course of your employment and you are covered under workers’ compensation, ensuring you have proper medical coverage and proper benefits.
We have ensured that there are strict criteria to ensure that we are protecting worker health and safety, that employers have the ability to present evidence in the case that it is discovered that a worker does not have COVID-19 or did they not contract it at work and that we’re able to quickly ensure that workers are protected, they’re able to get better and return to work safely for the betterment of all. And we will be issuing additional guidance in the coming days to help provide greater clarity. And thank you so much to all those frontline workers for all the work that you are doing throughout this crisis. Thank you.
Gavin Newsom: (09:43)
Thank you Victoria and thank you to your team for organizing this program and getting that executive order to my desk earlier today. A couple of other executive orders that we are also announcing today are around the issues of property tax relief, both for residences as well as business, the personal business property tax that people are required to pay north of $100,000. Both are familiar to many individuals that may be watching and there was some clarity a few months back as it relates to penalties associated in fees related to the assessment of property taxes and we made the point that we were working with the counties to see if we can coordinate and collaborate in a way that can address the hardship claims that were coming in and allow people to get on payment plans without experiencing that rather sizable 10% tax code penalty that is assessed on those property tax bills.
Gavin Newsom: (10:48)
We’ve been working with the county associations and this executive order will provide even more clarity in this space and extend through next May the penalty waiver for fees and related fines associated with that 10% tax code requirement that will allow people again with hardships to get on payment plans and not have to experience that penalty at least through the end of next May. So, we think this is a significant clarification. We think this could be significant relief, particularly that timeline that extends into the new year as many of us have had that 10% fee assessed through no fault of our own, maybe just neglect, maybe naive about the penalty being so strong right now. Many people just struggling to make ends meet and those property tax bills are so large for people and so challenging at this time that we wanted to provide this clarity and that executive order that we signed today as well will do just that.
Gavin Newsom: (11:53)
As I said, we extend this not just this relief to personal residences, we are extending the deadline for personal property for taxes associated with businesses. That currently is a May 7th deadline where you would then have that same 10% tax under the tax code. We’re extending that through just May 31st of this month. So for residences, we extend through next year. For businesses, we’re providing small businesses that relief at least through the end of the month to give people some more time. We’ve been working with the Board of Equalization on this. They were assessing how many calls they were getting, how many concerns that were being raised, and providing at least a little bit more time will give us a little bit more time as well to provide more clarity through the end of this month.
Gavin Newsom: (12:50)
So, that’s the framework today of these executive orders. Hopefully providing some clarity in areas where we’re getting a lot of inquiry and hopefully providing a little bit of relief for many people that are anxious-
Gavin Newsom: (13:03)
… because of the economic challenges of this moment.
Gavin Newsom: (13:09)
The economic challenges, as you know well are quite extraordinary. We are now facing the need to continue to provide unprecedented support to people that are filing uninsurance claims and PUA claims, these Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Grants, over 4.2 million people now in that system, 477,000 of those under the PUA program. But $10.6 billion now has been distributed.
Gavin Newsom: (13:41)
Remarkably, just since Sunday $2 billion has been distributed from the UI and PUA accounts. So now north of 10 billion, 10.6, 2 billion now just in less than a week of dollars that we’re getting out as quickly as we can. I bring that up proactively consistently because I recognize so many of you can’t wait much longer, can’t wait on a line for a human being to answer the phone call, or wait for your claim to be adjudicated, wait for some questions to be cleared up, or wait to get that debit card or check in the mail.
Gavin Newsom: (14:21)
Just know they are continuing to work as hard as they possibly can at the EDD Department. And I had another conference call this morning with Julie Su and her team continuing to try to do everything they can in their power to get these claims turned around to $2 billion, just since Sunday through this week, almost 11 billion now in total. Again, without precedent in our state’s history. And you’ll see these numbers translating to unemployment rates very, very soon, not only in the state of California, but across this country that will be rather jaw-dropping.
Gavin Newsom: (14:57)
It’s sober, and we’ve anticipated it, and it’s also reflected and will be reflected in budgets, both local budgets, state budgets, certainly in the national budget in communities all across the United States. Our budget comes out, what we call the May revise, on May 14th. So in a few days those numbers will be made more visible, more real to people, as we’re all working over time to make sure we submit a balanced budget.
Gavin Newsom: (15:24)
We talk about California being a nation state. The only distinction by that, it’s a figurative term, not a literal term. The one thing that we don’t have is a printing press. We are accountable to balancing our budgets, and I’ll continue to make this point as we’ve made on multiple occasions. We can’t do this without the federal government. We really need leadership at the federal level to provide the magnitude of supports, not just for this state, California, but for cities and counties all across California where revenues have simply just fallen off a cliff in just weeks, not even months. And so again, these unemployment numbers portend that future. And so I just want to highlight and bracket the unemployment conversation in light of that conversation.
Gavin Newsom: (16:13)
Let me now go back to the opening conversation about moving people back into phase two, back into the economy through this phase two process. We’ll be putting out guidelines as early as tomorrow as it relates to the industries that will begin to make modifications to our stay away order, and industries that will be allowed to move with adaptation and modifications into this second phase, primarily in the retail space, but also in the manufacturing and logistics space.
Gavin Newsom: (16:46)
Yesterday we were at small business in Sacramento that will be the beneficiary of these changes that we’ll begin to do curbside pickup, but still a lot of work for businesses to get their modifications in order.
Gavin Newsom: (16:59)
We’re also working with the counties all across the state of California that wish to go further clarifying the expectations, what the details are in terms of the guidelines on testing, tracing capacity, surge capacity, PPE, and many other prerequisites to opening up even further.
Gavin Newsom: (17:20)
On the issue of PPE, it is appropriate that I also there pause and reflect on this remarkable moment in our history, where we all took off on a plane that we were building as we were flying. We referred to the procurement of PPE across the spectrum is the wild, wild west a few months back. There’s been some wonderful reporting on this. I want to compliment the work of one of our state newspapers, CalMatters, and credible work also being done in the Washington Post on this that highlighted some of these examples.
Gavin Newsom: (17:52)
You’ve seen those examples in Maryland. You’ve seen some examples specifically in New York… many other States. I can imagine there are hundreds and hundreds that will be exposed at cities, not just states over the course of months. Some of those efforts gone awry. We’ve been very… well, to the extent possible, we’ve kind of been in real time updating you. I mentioned a few weeks back on multiple occasions, some of those moldy masks that were turned back that we had procured. We were able to get our money back on those. Others, that customs and borders took away. Contracts that materialized, contracts that didn’t, but there was some larger contracts that certainly didn’t, that didn’t cost the taxpayers a penny, but were cautionary tales. And a few months back we were able to, or at least many weeks back, been able to reposition our approach to our procurement in PPE.
Gavin Newsom: (18:44)
And that led to an announcement a few weeks back about a large procurement with a company BYD, and other nonprofits were part of a broader consortium of efforts to really secure our supply chain for the state of California. Again, why is that so important? For our first responders, for our frontline employees, and our health care professionals absolutely, our skilled nursing facilities [inaudible 00:00:19:09], but also that PPE is critical for reopening the economy.
Gavin Newsom: (19:13)
We have this large BYD contract where we talked about the product coming in in May and June, a two month contract. We’re a few days into May, but we were very blessed a week or so ago to get early shipments, earlier than we had anticipated on the contract of these surgical masks, these procedure masks. What that has allowed us to do is begin to move into phase two a little bit earlier than we otherwise would.
Gavin Newsom: (19:42)
Let me be specific about that. We have now distributed over 15 million of those procedure masks. A few weeks ago it was less than, well it was about 4 million. Now we’ve distributed over 15 million, and we have in our possession 19.9 million masks that we are now in the process of distributing. Again, we try to get it out as quickly as possible, but we’ve never been in this position. We were the beneficiary of these larger contracts, and some security in our supply chain.
Gavin Newsom: (20:11)
So that’s good news on the front end. The unfortunate news, but it’s part of these larger contracts is on the backend we needed some certification from federal certifications, for these N95 respirator masks. That’s been delayed a little bit, so on the backend, a little bit of delay, on the front end we had a new product coming in. And so all these things work out themselves. But the good news is we learned a lot in that process, from those previous contracts and we have partners now that we didn’t have in the past including the Department of Justice, the FBI, and many others that are helping scrutinize these contracts a little bit more closely, or at least those that are part of those contracts in the supply chain.
Gavin Newsom: (20:58)
And so all of that was a reset a few months back. Many other governors, many other mayors, city administrators facing similar challenges. All of this will be a part of our After Action Report all across this country, where we all are in a position to have learned a lot, and obviously at peril of making those mistakes ever again, and that’s why it’s so important we hold the line on these contracts that we have secured so we can get the product in. We can continue to continue our advancement in not just phase two, but phase three, and ultimately to where we want to go. And that’s back to some semblance of our old normal life. Once we have immunity, and once we have a vaccine. But until then, PPE is going to be so foundational and so important to these reopening efforts, and continuing to make a real progress in that space. And we’re very pleased.
Gavin Newsom: (21:51)
By the way, one thing that I have been a little frustrated by, and I know all of you have as well, a lot of these contracts haven’t been made public as quickly as we would like them to be. There’s many different reasons for that. Often lawyers, God bless them, family lawyers getting involved, redact things, et cetera. There’s timing issues on all of this, and we just want to make sure we deliver ultimately on the needs of so many whose lives literally are at risk if we don’t on procurement. But I asked my team to accelerate these contracts, get them out there. I want to be cautious, same time, that could create some setbacks, but you deserve them. And it’s a core value of mine. It’s something I deeply believe, in transparency. And so we have work to do to elevate those efforts.
Gavin Newsom: (22:44)
And I just want to own that and also acknowledge that, and let you know that that progress is being made, and you should expect those large contracts and others to get out there if they’re not already online. Number of them have gone online over the last few days and weeks, but many more, and some of these larger ones we want to get out in the next few days, and make sure people are aware. We’ve been able to brief our legislative leaders on a lot of these things, but you the public deserve that information and you’ll be getting that very, very soon.
Gavin Newsom: (23:13)
So good news on the PPE side in terms of progress on these surgical masks that have allowed us to move in this second phase. We’re still on track for that second phase later this week, and we are for a number of other reasons, not just testing. The tracing that we talked about today is the first day of that virtual training that we’ll be doing with credible partnership with UCSF and UCLA to train the first cohort of tracker and tracers; these what I call disease detectives. We’ll have 10,000 in that first cohort, will hopefully get to about 20,000 over the course of the next few months. That is foundational as well in our reopening efforts, but so is the data and that’s what guides us. That’s what makes ultimately these determinations; allows us to make announcements. And I want to just update you as I do every day at noon on some of that data.
Gavin Newsom: (24:10)
Hospitalization numbers improved over the last day, so did ICU numbers. They actually both went down 1% and 1.5% respectfully. So that was encouraging news. We had a very well relative, and it’s all contextual, we had some good news over the last week versus the previous week on the number of deaths.
Gavin Newsom: (24:32)
Unfortunately yesterday, at least over the last 24 hours, those numbers went back up a little bit. And I just want to extend my deep condolences, sympathy and just once again, it pains me to say, announce that we lost 95 souls in the last 24 hours to this virus. We had seen those numbers dropping. That we hope is not a new data point that becomes a trend line, but it is a data point that tragically I have to share every day, and that’s the number sadly of people who lost their lives in the last 24 hours.
Gavin Newsom: (25:12)
The number of people that have tested positive, we’re looking at case rates now, you’ll hear a lot more about that, “Case rates.” We’ll talk more about that, Dr. Galley and others will talk more about case rates, and that’s the percentage of people testing positive, versus the total number of people that are being tested.
Gavin Newsom: (25:26)
I talked yesterday about how we’ve been sort of bouncing back, from 1200 people testing positive a day, seen as high as twenty-five, twenty-six hundred. We were on the lower end yesterday, a little bit on the higher end today in terms of the announcement. But in that bracket. So again, stabilization over the course of many, many weeks. Decline in certain areas, but not as much as we’d love to see. But again, the stabilization of that curve is one of the foundational indicators to allow us to move forward in this second phase. The indicators on PPE, another-
Gavin Newsom: (26:03)
… critical indicator allows moving to phase two, the tracing work that now is being done in real time. This Virtual Academy and the data management system that we’ve now procured. That’ll be up and running, sharing data and information in real time to counties all across the state. And a collaborative spirit that continues to permeate. There’s exceptions, and I’m sure you’ll ask me a few of those exceptions. But again, they’re the exceptions. That collaborative spirit that is alive all across this state, regions, large and small, rural, urban, suburban. And that includes Newport Beach. And I wanted you to know that we were able to move forward in the collaborative spirit with the leadership in Newport Beach to reopen Newport Beach. We announced three beaches yesterday, two the prior day, reopening. And to the leadership, to their credit, they modeled their reopening plans along the lines of those that were advanced yesterday in Huntington Beach and Seal Beach among others, Dana Point, and continuing the incredible work that San Diego, LA, Ventura and others had done in terms of advising a lot of that work.
Gavin Newsom: (27:16)
So we’re making real progress. The Orange County board of supervisors I think made a lot of progress last night. And now with their county administrator, we’re working on some final points. But again, that’s the spirit of our time and spirit that will allow us in real time to make judicious decisions based upon health and health broadly defined, and I’ll just close on that. We think in terms of health as a priority for those that are potentially exposing themselves to COVID-19 or have been tested positive, but we’ve long talked in terms of public health more broadly. I submitted a budget in January talking about social determinants of health, talking about the issues of poverty and health. And it is incumbent I think of all of us that we consider that as we consider these next phases and how challenging and challenged we all are as we enter into these phases.
Gavin Newsom: (28:18)
Public health has to be broadly defined. People’s mental health has to be considered. We have to be considerate of the socioeconomics and the complete disparities that continue to persist and are impacting people so differently, particularly in the black and brown communities in this state. And it doesn’t surprise me and it shouldn’t surprise you. A study that just recently came out related to that. You see a disproportionate number of our Latino community testing positive for COVID-19 and in the black community dying because of COVID-19. Doesn’t surprise any of us, a study that just came out across this country that just underscored a point we’ve been making, and that’s the occupational side of this. A disproportionate number of our black and brown community are not teleworking, are not homeworking. They’re right on the front lines. And that’s why the PPE so important. That’s why the testing is so important. And that’s why we consider these disparities in terms of broader public health, not just as it relates to COVID-19. And I again just offer that as a lens of consideration always.
Gavin Newsom: (29:26)
We talk, I talk often in the aggregate, but I recognize all of you, none of you live in the aggregate. And conditions all across the state within diverse communities are unique and distinctive, and we need to speak to those that deserve that attention and deserve I think those issues being called out as well. So that’s broad strokes the announcements today and the progress we look forward to making tomorrow on getting those guidelines out and into the weekends as we begin to move into phase two with our eyes wide open, with the data front and center and with that dashboard of transparency in real time guiding our decision making over the course of the next days and many weeks and months ahead. Happy to answer questions.
Speaker 1: (30:18)
Rachel Blooth, Kaiser Health News.
Rachel Blooth: (30:22)
Hi governor. There’s been direction by the legislature to only focus on COVID related and essential bills, but some lawmakers are putting out legislation that doesn’t seem related and I want to know if you see an appetite for those. Will there be a path forward on measures in the legislature to combat youth vaping? Will you be pursuing a vaping tax yourself?
Gavin Newsom: (30:44)
Yeah. Let me be up front with you. I’m getting a little ahead of myself. Absolutely I will in the May 14th present a vaping tax to the legislature for their consideration, their consent. I look forward to engaging the legislature, both sides of the aisle, in robust deliberation of these bills. We do have a very challenging calendar. They have a challenging calendar. But they are an independent branch of government and they should be afforded the privilege and the right, the foundational honor they’ve been bestowed by the people of the state of California to make that determination for themselves of what’s important on behalf of their constituency.
Gavin Newsom: (31:23)
And I will deeply respect that, and I admire the work of so many that have continued, despite the stay at home order and despite not being in session, how proactive and engaged they have been not only with their constituency in their districts but more broadly with all of us here in the state operation center. So we’ll see what comes down. But the legislative leaders have been spectacular trying to distill the essence, but there is a lot of discussion and debate about what is the essence of this moment. And you just highlighted, for example, one of them, vaping concern that is still real despite COVID-19 and I think deserves attention as well, and it will have attention in terms of our budget submittal on May 14th.
Speaker 1: (32:12)
Alexi Cosef, [inaudible 00:32:13] Chronicle.
Alexi Cosef: (32:16)
Hi governor. I wanted to follow up on some comments you made a few days ago about the Western States pact. You talked about it largely in terms of advisory discussions happening behind the scenes, and I’m curious if there’s anything under discussion to make that pact more formal the way Northeastern States have done to negotiate for PPE together. And if not, why make such a big public announcement about what’s largely just an advisory collaborative? Was it an effort to create a counterweight to the Trump administration on coronavirus response?
Gavin Newsom: (32:59)
No, it was a spirit of collaboration that was alive and well and made visible when we announced it. We had been working for over a week pre-announcement, particularly with Jay Inslee, who I’ve known for years, close personal friend, not just a well-respected governor and leader, to clean climate change and so many other social justice causes. Governor Brown in Oregon, I’ve gotten to know very, very closely, and so we’ve been talking, full disclosure, more broadly for the last two years, at least my year and a half as governor, about a West coast collaborative that goes even beyond this moment. We’ve been talking more broadly about a growth and inclusion strategy. It’s a phrase you may have heard me say on multiple occasions. It comes from a lot of the conversations we’ve had about issues of disparity, issues of poverty and the unique dynamics of these West coast economies in terms of our innovative spirit and the entrepreneurial spirit that really defines the West coast.
Gavin Newsom: (34:00)
And so we’ve been having those conversations and we began to formalize them and decided to advance that pact. It wasn’t done in a political frame. It was just done in a frame of collaboration and really codifying what was happening on the natural and doing it a little bit more formally. To be candid with you as I was last week, it’s really been an extraordinary success in this respect. I mentioned this even on Monday that when we had the pleasure of having Gerald Paulus from Colorado join us and the wonderful governor, another just spectacular partner. We do so much work together in Lake Tahoe and elsewhere on border issues. Governor Sisolak from Nevada. When they joined our pact, they added even more in terms of insight. Notably the issue of regionalism became front and center in those conversations. Honestly, if we had not had the pact, if they had not been invited in, I don’t know that we would have been the beneficiary of some of that work.
Gavin Newsom: (35:01)
Particularly, the work coming out of Colorado. And that work really presented itself and complemented some of the work that was done up in Oregon and allowed us to make the announcement I made on Monday with a little bit more clarification in terms of what we are looking for from those counties in terms of self certification, the testing, to these containment plans and protection plans. So I’ve been blessed by it. I think it’s also opened up the doors, as you know, on PPE even more broadly. We’ve been talking to other governors even outside of this collaborative on just ways we could be more collaborative in the PPE space and sharing best practices on antibody tests and others. I can continue to go on and on and on except to say we think this pact has been a good one, a successful one.
Speaker 1: (35:53)
Katie Orr, K [inaudible 00:00:35:54].
Katie Orr: (35:57)
Hi governor. Just what you were just talking about, given the difficulty states have had in securing PPE and testing equipment, has your administration had any discussions with the legislature about the possibility of enacting a state wide defense production act that would give the state government more control over production and price setting?
Gavin Newsom: (36:16)
Yeah, we’ve reviewed that. I considered that a few months back. We actually have dozens and dozens of people that are part, you may recall our announcement, I think we were down at Bloom Energy in Silicon Valley, where we announced this new supply site, and we wanted people to utilize that site that may be procuring, producing or willing to procure and produce materials, sanitation and the like to the state. We highlighted a number of those companies that actually are participating in the manufacturing of gowns and cloth masks, hand sanitizers. One of the biggest companies in the world, Budweiser, actually just delivered a bunch of hand sanitizers. CDCR Prison Industries are doing their own hand sanitizers and cloth making just as examples of some of the manufacturing that may not have been highlighted. A wonderful company up in Sonoma doing the same. St. John’s Knits, they’re actually cross border, down in Tijuana, also in Southern California, repurposing their lines.
Gavin Newsom: (37:20)
So it’s a long way of saying this. We considered it, but we felt there was a lot of things already happening. And the necessity to move quickly required us to use more of these traditional supply chains. And as we were able to anchor with FEMA, our partners, and with these new protocols and procedures, with a little more confidence in security, these very large scale procurements of mask, which again are in the tens of millions, hundreds of millions when we’re done with all of this. We felt that was a better way of going to meet the immediate needs because the time delay of getting these other companies up and moving. So there were hybrids, including by the way some of those bridge ventilators that another company in Southern California that was traditionally doing rocket ships provided, but we didn’t feel we had to procure or take over large industries.
Speaker 1: (38:17)
Carla Marinucci, Politico.
Carla Marinucci: (38:18)
Hey governor. You’ve been talking about reopening and getting people back to barber shops, cosmetologists and all that stuff, and a lot of our readers who have been impacted by the stay at home [inaudible 00:38:31] this is affecting household, and I am not kidding when I say we’ve gotten half a dozen questions in the last week from people wanting to know if your abiding by these stay at home rules like they’re supposed to. Are you getting your hair cut at home or are you welcoming staff into your home? And how are you dealing with your kids? Would you share some of those details with us?
Gavin Newsom: (38:50)
I’m glad people care. Thank you. It’s the first opportunity. Well, someone else asked how was I doing a few weeks ago. I was touched by it. Still remember it fondly. Thank you. I think it’s pretty obvious to you-
Gavin Newsom: (39:03)
… I have not had a haircut. I’m a little embarrassed to having this conversation as publicly as I am having. So, the answer is no.
Gavin Newsom: (39:11)
There was an experiment with Brooklyn, my daughter, where she did offer because she was a bit “embarrassed” with her father. She offered to cut it, but she brought out some of her craft scissors, which certainly weren’t up for the task, but no, we are abiding by it. We practice what we preach.
Gavin Newsom: (39:32)
I can’t wait to go back like all of you. Have a nice night out, restaurant and dinner. I’ll forgive a vacation for a while, but nothing would please me more, Carla, someone who started in the restaurant business and a hospitality business to enjoy that. And that’s why I’m eager like everybody else, millions of us to make those announcements and gets back to some semblance of normalcy. Recognizing that all of this is conditioned on this new reality. But no, we’re abiding by those rules. I come in here every day. As you know, everybody is tested before they come into the State Operations Center. They take things very, very seriously as you know well here at the State Operations Center. We moved our office here. Now, it seems like months ago. I think it may have been from the State Capitol.
Gavin Newsom: (40:18)
And my home is our sanctuary, independent, and we don’t mix in that respect. And when I go out in public, I’ll wear a mask. I’ll tell you, my time out in the public has been very limited because most of it has been spent here. You saw that I think even yesterday when we went out with Mayor Steinberg out into the community to a store when we were out a few weeks back with Sam Liccardo down in San Jose, down in Santa Clara area, did the same. And my wife does the same when she gets groceries. We are doing our best to abide by the same rules and regulations and everybody else is.
Speaker 2: (40:57)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (41:00)
Hi, Governor. Two questions. So, first, are you saying that your administration is going to release the details of the contract with BYD before it is fulfilled? I know just this week your administration said that it would not disclose the contract in response to a PRA by AP and it sounds like other news outlets. So, are you saying that, that now will be disclosed in the coming days?
Gavin Newsom: (41:25)
Yeah, Kathleen, very clearly. Let me answer that. Yes, you deserve it. Look, here’s the thing. I’ve been very honest with you and I know I’ve done this a while and I respect the work you do, and I respect your obligation to do that work.
Gavin Newsom: (41:45)
This is always a challenge, isn’t it? We want to be as transparent as possible. My gosh, I want to take a back seat to no one in terms of my desire to do that. At the same time, I want to deliver on what’s so foundational, so important that literally can impact the lives of thousands of people, maybe tens of thousands. I don’t want to overstate it, but literally thousands of people if we’re not successful.
Gavin Newsom: (42:07)
And so it’s been that give and take. Here’s the good news, we have gotten … We got early deliveries on that contract that came in earlier than we expected, and they’ve been coming in consistently. And that’s why I feel I told the team, “Guys, now I’m confident this is coming in.” Remember, we wanted this to get done and we’re confident it’s happening.
Gavin Newsom: (42:29)
Again, some delays on this federal certification, so it’s going to push back to the N95s, the respirators a few weeks, but we’re able to get earlier the surgical masks, which allow us to open earlier. Because of that and the confidence that at least that is happening, that’s why I said, “Guys, just get this out.” It’s the right thing to do. You deserve it.
Gavin Newsom: (42:51)
But I hope you understand, you don’t have to reflect this in any article. You guys do great work every day. This tension of doing what we need to do to solve a big problem and the deep desire you have to put all that out. By the way, I’m looking forward to you putting out, because we negotiate a pretty good price in the middle of all this.
Gavin Newsom: (43:11)
Remember, they were buying some masks at 12 bucks a mask. Other States, the federal government, $6, $7, $8 a mask. I just want you to contextualize when you see the contract and so many ways it’s been more frustrating because I actually want to share it with you. And when you see it this week, I hope you’ll consider those price points we’re able to negotiate up against where the market was.
Gavin Newsom: (43:33)
Not where the market was three years ago. That’s an apple and an orange, but where the market was and what other states are currently providing, you’ll feel my frustration of why I really wished we could have put those out weeks ago. But again, we’re in a dynamic environment. You’ve been writing a lot about it. Things that were promised to come in got stopped.
Gavin Newsom: (43:56)
And there’s geopolitical reality here too. I don’t want to get into that because then I really will put things. But there’s a lot of things happening, a lot of crosscurrents. One day, I look forward to having that conversation with you, which is why I just want to make sure we take care of the most vulnerable Californians.
Gavin Newsom: (44:15)
I’m guilty of that and I mean that. I’m guilty of wanting to deliver and get this done and to save lives at the same time, dammit, to be as transparent as humanly that can be to you because you deserve it. And so yeah, you’ll get that. And I hope it doesn’t impact the contract. I pray it doesn’t, but I’m proud of the work our team has done on it.
Speaker 2: (44:35)
Final question, Dave Lopez, KCBS.
Dave Lopez: (44:42)
Good afternoon, Governor. In light of businesses or the restrictions being eased, you’ll make that more announcement tomorrow. How confident are you that California will be able to rebound, and how long will it take?
Gavin Newsom: (44:59)
It’s going to take longer than I think a lot of people think. It’s going to take a lot longer than people are saying. This is serious. I’ve never experienced anything like this in our lifetime. This is depression era numbers in terms of the unemployment you’ll see across this country, not just in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (45:17)
Again, please just do the math on the number of unemployed Californians that have filed just since March 12th, just since March 12th. We had record low unemployment in my January announcement. Record reserves. We were enjoying another surplus and you’re going to see a budget that comes out tens of billions of dollars short of where it needs to be.
Gavin Newsom: (45:39)
I can’t make this more playing. I’ve been very direct with the conversations we’ve had with our congressional representatives, Democrats, Republicans have been very direct with you publicly on dozen press occasions easily. We made public the letter we’ve sent to Speaker Pelosi.
Gavin Newsom: (45:55)
We’ve been working very directly with Speaker Pelosi on what we believe our needs will be to take care of the most vulnerable Californians that will be impacted by revenue reductions and loss and deal with the most vulnerable families that are dealing with job losses and struggling to make ends meet.
Gavin Newsom: (46:12)
These numbers are jaw dropping, and it is alarming. I just hope people are preparing themselves not just for the clarity around these numbers, but preparing for the effort that we all need to engage together, to undertake, to unwind that and get back on our feet. So, let me just answer that point of your question.
Gavin Newsom: (46:35)
I have no trepidation, all the confidence in the world that we will recover and we will be a stronger society. It will be a smarter society, stronger society, more resilient state and nation. No doubt in my mind, but it’s going to take a little bit of time.
Gavin Newsom: (46:52)
I’m not of this opinion and nor my economic advisors, including Janet Yellen, former fed chair, and my entire team, which I’ll put up against any economic recovery experts and advisers that this is a quick V and we’re going to come back in a few months.
Gavin Newsom: (47:08)
The next few years, we’re going to have to work through these challenges, but we’ll work through them and we’ll get out the other side, again, stronger, more resilient and more capable of meeting challenges head on the future. But we have our work cut out for us and as does the rest of the country and nations large and small all around the globe. With that, let me thank all of you for as always your time and attention, and let me thank those of you that are paying particular attention to these briefings. Let me thank you for your stewardship. Let me thank you for your faith and devotion to the cause that unites all of us and that’s our public health.
Gavin Newsom: (47:50)
Thank you for practicing social distancing. Thank you for physically distancing against others. Thank you for wearing face coverings when you otherwise can’t practice physical distancing. Thank you to community leaders. Thank you to faith leaders. Thank you to those that are working collaboratively with our administration to thoughtfully and judiciously move into phase two.
Gavin Newsom: (48:12)
Thank you for those that have the spirit of cooperation, not just protest. Thank you to the protesters for expressing their voice and expressing their frustration. Thank you to people that agree and disagree, all of you for doing what you’ve done to help California get to this point.
Gavin Newsom: (48:30)
I’m really proud of this state. I’m proud of all of you, and I’m incredibly emboldened and enlivened about our prospects in the future. As long, again, as we’re driven not by political expediency and not by arbitrary timelines, but by science, by public health, and by data. Take care of everybody and have a wonderful day.