May 26, 2020
Governor Gavin Newsom May 26 California COVID-19 Briefing Transcript
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Gavin Newsom: (06:27)
… hope you had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. And I’m certainly more than pleased that people seem to be enjoying themselves. Some perhaps without the kind of well, social distancing that we were hoping for, a physical distance seems required at the moment. And I want to speak a little to that where we are as a state where I believe we’re going update you on what happened over the course of the weekend, specifically about some of the new modifications we’ve made to our stay at home order and also preview what we’ll be doing over the next few weeks. I just want to first acknowledge that we are very close to reaching a milestone in this country. 100,000 lives lost to this pandemic, to COVID-19. In the state of California, we’re coming close to 100,000 cases. 100,000 Californians that have tested positive for COVID-19. And while we have fared a lot better than other States, as it relates to the mortality and the number of deaths in the state of California, as it relates to this pandemic, by no means have we been immune.
Gavin Newsom: (07:32)
We have over 3,800 human beings that have lost their lives since the beginning of this pandemic. We lost 19 people in the last 24 hours in the state of California. And we saw a number of new top positive tests increased by over 2000 in the last 24 hours here in the state of California. It’s a long way of saying we still have a long way of going to get to where we need to be, which is immunity and to a vaccine. And it is incumbent upon all of us to take seriously this moment. And to recognize that we are in a transition, as it relates to the modifications we’ve made and others have made all across the United States to the stay at home order and the need for people to be vigilant arguably now, even more than ever.
Gavin Newsom: (08:20)
The message in the past was rather straightforward, stay at home. And to the extent you had to go about doing essential business, getting medications and getting food do so by practicing social distancing, physical distancing, and wear face coverings, if at all possible. Now that we have provided the opportunity for more activities, not just again in this state, but all across the nation. We’re seeing images on our television screen. We’re experiencing things in our own lives that further the cause of vigilance and they require even more of each and every one of us in terms of our individual role and our individual responsibility. As we start to mix with cohorts of people that we haven’t been spending a lot of time with the prospects of an increased number of cases, obviously presents itself, the prospect of people transmitting this virulent disease obviously increases. And so combat upon all of us to continue to take seriously this moment and continue to practice physical distancing, where we must. And to make sure again, that we are wearing appropriate face coverings if we’re going to come into contact with people where we cannot practice physical distancing and social distancing.
Gavin Newsom: (09:38)
It’s just a reminder to everybody that we’re not even out of the first wave of this pandemic. People are talking about the second wave that’s many, many months off. The reality is this pandemic has just begun, it hasn’t ended. And while we are moving forward because of stabilization, because of the good work that’s been done by health officials all across this nation, all across the state of California, specifically to suppress the spread of this virus by no stretch of the imagination, is this virus behind us. And I just cannot be more, I think, precise in terms of my recommendation that all of us be sober about the reality of this disease and sober about the reality of lives that have been lost. Again, 100,000 in this nation, over 3,800 in the state of California, 19 new funerals that have to be organized just in the last 24 hours here in the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (10:35)
Concerns are always about our seniors. It’s just an important statistical point to consider 19.5% of Californians that have tested positive, just shy of 20% of Californians that have tested positive for COVID-19 are over the age of 65, but 79.2% of them have died. Those deaths rather reflected an almost 80% of that cohort of seniors, 65 and over. So if you’re over the age of 65, I hope you are reminded very soberly of that fundamental and foundational fact that our elderly, those with compromised immune systems, others are in categories of very, very high risk. And as we go back our day to day lives, we go back to some semblance of normalcy with modifications. Let us not forget the most vulnerable amongst us that are continuing to be vulnerable to this disease and it’s spread. And so I hope all of us are cautious and are cautioned at this moment as we move forward.
Gavin Newsom: (11:46)
And again, the images over the weekend, not surprisingly, this spectacular weather that we experienced in the state continue to experience it with an extended Memorial Day weekend with the beaches, now reopening, parks and other facilities beginning to reopen or at least opportunities to recreate beginning to reopen. It’s just incumbent upon all of us to practice what we preach and to continue to do what we must to keep others safe, not just ourselves safe. And to make sure that we’re protecting the most vulnerable Californians. I want folks to know we have been making modifications in real time, not just waiting for noon press conferences.
Gavin Newsom: (12:26)
Over the weekend, we made modifications as it relates to retail, establishments in the state and places of worship. We allowed for a statewide level, the ability for congregants with modifications and limitations to come back into their places of worship. We made modifications on retail so it’s no longer curbside pickup, but now you have the opportunity to go back with physical modifications in to retail establishments in the state of California. Those were statewide orders that were put out over the last few days and you should expect more of them.
Gavin Newsom: (13:03)
… Put out over the last few days. And you should expect more of those directives and guidelines to be put out over the course of the next few days and over the next few weeks. We made this point earlier, this is a dynamic process. And in this process, it’s also iterative. Meaning, it’s one where we’re open to argument, we’re interested in evidence, we want to see how some of these phased-in approaches go before we make even more meaningful modifications to them. That’s why with places of worship, we’re limiting to 25% capacity or 100 people. Whichever one is lower. I know some people think that’s too much, too fast, too soon. Others think, frankly, that didn’t go far enough. But suffice it to say at a statewide level, we now are affording this opportunity again, with a deep realization of the fact that people will start to mix and B in cohorts of people they haven’t been in, in the past.
Gavin Newsom: (14:00)
And that is incumbent upon us to practice that physical distancing within these places of worship. And to make sure that we are applying common sense and the rules of engagement that we laid out in our latest guidance. We’re one of the few states in the United States to make these meaningful modifications. One of the few in the Western United States. And we are working with our other state partners, looking at best practices from across this country, working through the CDC guidelines and the like. But no, this was the first rollout in this space. And again, we want to be non-ideological about how we conduct ourselves in this space. We want to monitor very, very closely and look at the evidence, look at the data to guideline any subsequent modifications of these orders. Accordingly, today we are making some adjustments and announcements related to guidelines on a regional basis.
Gavin Newsom: (15:02)
I want to remind you, we have statewide guidance modifications, and we have these variances, these regional variances, which have self attestations. People basically attesting at the County level, local elected officials and health officials attesting at the local level that they have containment plans and they have plans to protect their citizens from the spread of this virus. 47 counties have self attested to having those plans of actions in place as relates to PPE, having the adequate number of testing, ability to cohort individuals that have tested positive or have come into contact with someone who’s tested positive. A focus and frame of really beginning to protect the most vulnerable in their counties, be it the skilled nursing facilities, our homeless, those in other congregate facilities, including our corrections facilities. That is part of the attestation process. 47 of the 58 counties currently have self attested to having those plans of action in place.
Gavin Newsom: (16:09)
Along those lines, they will be able to add in barber shops and hair salons to those regional variations starting today. We’ve put those guidelines out. We put them up on our COVID-19.ca.gov website. And those counties will begin to allow for those kinds of operations, with meaningful modifications, with the appropriate protective gear, particularly face coverings that are so essential in that environment, sanitation requirements and the like. So giving you a sense that we’re making progress. We’re moving forward. We’re not looking back, but we are walking into the unknown, the untested, literally and figuratively. And we have to be guided by the data that brought us to this place in the first place. And that is guided by these principles of openness and transparency, principles where all of us are required to do a little bit more and a little bit better to make sure we’re protecting the spread of this virus.
Gavin Newsom: (17:18)
Particularly again, as we meaningfully reopen the economy in this state. So from manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, retail, restaurants, all across the spectrum of our economy, we have made meaningful modifications. Working at the County level, the regional level, we’ve made even more modifications. We’ll be putting out further guidelines tomorrow as it relates to summer camps, a little bit more specificity related to childcare facilities, as it relates to schools. We are working with the film industry, television industry. We chose to engage a little bit more formally. We were hoping to put out those guidelines as early as today. We want to extend them to later in the week, perhaps into the weekend, because we’re working with both industry and labor, and they want to tighten up some aspects of their guidelines. That’s very encouraging and has been a very, very… Well, it’s been a very, very positive process.
Gavin Newsom: (18:15)
And they’re looking, by the way, a process not completely dissimilar what the grocers did with the industry. Which was really, I thought a model in terms of guidelines for safely reopening. It’s a way of suggesting this dynamic process of engagement across the spectrum of businesses and business sectors and across the spectrum regionally across the state of California. Accordingly, we are advancing conversations with the legislature, in particular supporting efforts to put out guidelines for nail salons and personal care personal services. Those are still a work in progress, but we have a very good and constructive relationship now that’s been formalized with key legislative leaders in the state, in that sector. Again, the issues there require, I think a little bit more specificity, a little bit more nuance and details in terms of the guidance to satisfy our health experts and our… Well, fundamentally the health guidance that is foundational in terms of our efforts.
Gavin Newsom: (19:22)
What’s also foundational in terms of these efforts is doing our part to make sure we’re supporting the counties, supporting cities, and supporting you and the state in terms of getting the appropriate procurement of personal protective gear. Making sure that the testing regime continues to improve and increase, and making sure that we have adequate capacity from a supplies perspective beyond just personal protective equipment. That includes ventilators and alternative care sites in this state. If we start to see the spread of this disease or see some increases in terms of that spread, so we can contain those spreads. And I want to just briefly update you in terms of where we are in that space as well. We have distributed over 41.2 million procedure masks just in the last 14 days in the state of California. Tens of millions of masks are coming in pursuant to a large contract that the state was afforded and many other smaller contracts.
Gavin Newsom: (20:26)
We’re really starting to turn the page in terms of having the adequate protective gear, particularly on the masks. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again. The masks are foundational in terms of not only protecting those in the healthcare delivery system, but also to begin to reopen our economy, to get them to the grocers, to get them to our farm workers, to get them to our childcare facilities, to get them into sectors so that we can reopen our economy more effectively and more safely. But real progress has been made in that space. And that allows us to make more progress in terms of these statewide modifications to the stay at home order. Accordingly, testing has really taken off. We made firm commitments about testing goals, and we’ve been able to keep to those goals. Over the weekend, we tested 67,000 people. The next day, 61,000 people. Yesterday, we tested a little over 50,000 people.
Gavin Newsom: (21:28)
So you can see from 2,000 tests a day, six, eight weeks ago. Now, well north of 50,000 tests each and every day. The good news is the positivity rate. That’s the number of people tested to the number of people that tested positive, holds strong. We’re still seeing an increase in total number of people that are testing positive. But again, a huge increase in the overall number of tests peaking at 67,000, just a few days ago. The positivity rate over a seven and 14 day period have held very strong. Over a seven day period at 4.2%. Over a 14 day period at 4.1% positivity rates. We want to see those rates in that area of stabilization, that band of stabilization. Ultimately, we want to see them go down. But we are holding steady in that positivity rate. And that’s encouraging news as well.
Gavin Newsom: (22:26)
Hospitalizations in ICUs. Those are the numbers, again, we talk often about. Over a day-to-day period, they went up slightly over the last 24 hours. But hospitalizations continue to remain strongly steady. Meaning, they’re holding, in fact slightly declining. 14 day average down about 6.7%. But again, stabilization over the course of many, many weeks, well beyond that 14 day period. ICU numbers. Stubborn, but stable. Basically flat over an extended period of time. The good news though, on ICU side of things is that we have more ICU bed capacity than we have in the past. About 8.5% more than we did a few weeks ago. Ventilators, we have close to 11,000 ventilators that are available just in our hospital system alone. That doesn’t include the state’s share. So again, all of these numbers are all part of those indicators that have to turn yellow to green so that we could continue to march forward.
Gavin Newsom: (23:30)
And indeed, they are turning yellow to green. And we are marching forward as it relates to these modifications to the stay at home order. More and more responsibility, more and more accountability now being placed on the counties and their Health Directors. I want to just thank the County Health Directors for their extraordinary job in helping advise us, counsel us, and work with us through this process. To local elected officials, some that wanted to move a little bit more aggressively. I want to thank them as well for the seriousness of purpose to which they have engaged. There are a few exceptions, folks that just want to move on and turn their back to the state. But it’s again, an exception. And I imagine exceptions often become the highlight. But I really want to make this point. That’s a very small number of people, communities, businesses that are turning their back to our health officials. The vast majority have been incredibly cooperative.
Gavin Newsom: (24:31)
And I just want to acknowledge that and thank each and every one of them. Including by the way, the mayor of Fresno, and forgive, Mayor Brand, I just wanted to recognize your particular leadership. He highlighted this morning, the mayor did, a concern around cooling centers in this state. Had he not engaged directly, we would not have been able to forward with some guidance that allows for cooling centers to be open. With again, the appropriate modifications. We’re now entering triple digit temperatures, and obviously parts of Central Valley, even hotter than some of the coastal communities. And I just want to thank the mayor as a proof point for his leadership in the Central Valley, but also for his stewardship.
Gavin Newsom: (25:15)
And to all of the electeds’ and Health Directors that have reached out directly and are guiding these decisions. We don’t have exclusivity and insight on every nuance and every detail in a state this large, but we are profoundly influenced by what’s happening on the ground in local communities, all throughout the state. And again, want to just thank all the local leaders for their outstanding job. And again, I want to make the point that we need them more than ever as we move forward into this next iteration. Now, into phase three. And the counties will have even larger responsibility, Health Directors an even larger responsibility to make sure we’re moving through phase three in a safe and responsible manner. We’ll support the-
Gavin Newsom: (26:03)
In a safe and responsible manner, we’ll support those efforts. But at the end of the day, I’ve said it before localism is determinative. The application of these rules and guidelines will be made real and realized at the local level. And so that’s the thrust. As we move into phase three of where this state is going, more accountability, more responsibility, more flexibility at the local and regional level. And recognizing again, that one size does not fit all and they can pace accordingly. And I’ll just end on that and open up for questions by making this point. Some parts of this state will not be able to pace as quickly into phase three, and we continue to be responsive to those concerns and the needs of those local communities to slow down the pace of reopening. And we respect that. And certainly we’ll honor that. Others are willing to move a little bit more quickly and we respect and honor that as well.
Gavin Newsom: (27:06)
Again, 47 counties with those attestations that are proof of that recognition as well. So moving broadly in a direction that I believe is hopeful and promising at the same time sobering in terms of the responsibility that this place is on each and every one of us to, again, practice the social distancing and the physical distancing that’s required of all of us to protect the most vulnerable in this state. And it will allow us to move more quickly. And to this deeper phase, phase three. Again phase four is about concerts. It’s about large festivals. It’s about conventions. We are not there yet. That’s about fans and stadiums. We are not there yet. And the state will hold the line in terms of those larger venues, but begin as we do to push down that responsibility to the counties, as we move more rapidly into phase three and a thoughtful and phased in approach.
Gavin Newsom: (28:14)
So that’s the update for the day, lot of movement over the course of the last few days through the weekend, lot of movement to expect and anticipate through this next week. And a lot of progress being made in the spirit of collaboration that defines this moment in our state’s history. So again, thank you all the good work of our team and Sonia Angel and Mark Galley, and all the outstanding leaders in our department of public health. Again and all the health directors at the local level and local elected officials, thank you for your guidance, thank you for your counsel as well as we move through this next phase together. With that, happy to take any questions.
Speaker 2: (28:59)
Jeremy White, Politico.
Jeremy White: (29:02)
Hey Governor, thanks so much for taking my question. Over the last week, we had seen the Department of Justice reach out to both the state of California and Los Angeles itself expressing concerns about various restrictions still in place. I know the limit on church gatherings, you’ve obviously been acted on, but more generally, are you concerned about the federal government taking a more assertive stance towards California’s restrictions? And do you see the potential for a legal clash down the line?
Gavin Newsom: (29:32)
I don’t. I don’t lose sleep over that. Maybe it’s fact that this is California, we’re involved in over 70 lawsuits with the administration. Predates my time as Governor, many of those lawsuits. So none of this surprises me at all. It doesn’t surprise you, I imagine. And again, we’re entering into a political season and so I can only anticipate we’ll see more. But again, we’re working very collaboratively, not only regionally, but with the federal government on things that really matter, some of these other things to me, it’s just noise.
Speaker 2: (30:07)
Dave Lopez, CVS LA.
Dave Lopez: (30:12)
Yes. Good afternoon, Governor. Two quick questions if I may. The LA County board of supervisors just appointed an inspector general to take a look at the problem in the assisted living homes, does that continue to be a major concern for you throughout the state? And my second question is you looked around and saw all the people enjoying themselves. Are you worried that perhaps there may be a spike and all of your plans moving forward, we’ll have to take a back seat at some point?
Gavin Newsom: (30:39)
Yeah, no, both very thoughtful questions and appropriate questions to this moment of both things are of top concern that we go back to some sense of normalcy with amnesia that we forget the past. We forget the fact that we’re meeting a mark of shame in this country that a hundred thousand souls have lost their lives, that this pandemic continues that we’re seeing positive number of cases increase not decrease. Even though we’re seeing stability here in the state of California and positivity rates holding strong, that doesn’t mean we’re out of this things behind us and that we’re out of the woods yet. And quite the contrary, what has made the difference, we believe in the state of California, was moving swiftly and acting with a sense of urgency on our state of home order and people practicing physical distancing, social distancing at scale. That we believe led to destabilization.
Gavin Newsom: (31:32)
Obviously we’re fearful as people begin to mix, people start to congregate together that haven’t congregated together, that you have few cases, flare ups and transmission that increases and puts enormous pressure, particularly in some communities in the state that are vulnerable to modest increase in caseload. Meaning some of the rural parts of the state that don’t have the hospitalization resources, the ventilators, don’t have the people and the personal protective gear. Those are parts of the state we’re particularly concerned about and will maintain a sense of vigilance as relates to our focus accordingly. We’re going to maintain vigilance with regard to skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, our senior and adult daycare homes. You may have noticed just a few days ago, Dr. Galley and his team put out new testing criteria for skilled nursing facilities. We have on ad nauseam occasions updated you and others as it relates to our work and skilled nursing facilities and other licensed facilities for seniors across this state has been the point of spear of focus of this administration.
Gavin Newsom: (32:43)
Going back to the beginning of the pandemic and continues to be a point of real concern as we move forward. I made the point to make a point about our seniors 65 and over, 79.2%. Again, those deaths are reflected and that age cohort and the vulnerability, particularly in these congregate facilities and assisted living facilities, skilled nursing facilities is self-evident particularly in Los Angeles. And I appreciate the frame of your question and where it emanates out of Los Angeles. In particular, we are seeing roughly, and the numbers changed in the last few days, roughly 55, 56% of the deaths in the state come out of that county. And roughly two thirds of those deaths coming out of this sector, in a skilled nursing assisted living sector. That’s why it’s completely appropriate the announcement that was made there. And I deeply respect and admire the work that’s being done there with the county and the city leadership to really target and focus the efforts to keep our seniors safe, particularly in these congregate settings. Top agenda item, not just here in this state, but across this country.
Speaker 2: (33:53)
Alexei Koseff, SF Chronicle.
Alexei Koseff: (33:58)
Hi Governor, could you talk a little bit more about what safety precautions you’re expecting to see in barber shops and hair salons that are going to be reopening and whether there’s a timeline or a certain date when they’re going to reopen more broadly in those remaining counties that have not been given a variance from the state order?
Gavin Newsom: (34:23)
There’s many counties that have the ability to get variances that haven’t submitted them or the fact is we’re in the process of working with those counties providing technical assistance. So there are many more counties that can move forward without test stations that haven’t yet for different reasons. Again, we continue to work with those counties to work through those issues or encourage those counties to the extent they wish to submit those plans to the state of California, so that’s number one. Number two, as it relates to the regional variance that we’re putting out today, it is up on our website covid19. ca.gov. You have the opportunity to look through the details of the guidelines as it relates to what we hope and expect to see in barber shops and hair salons. By the way, I didn’t see any of that in the work that was done by my barber just a few days ago, it was actually a collection of barbers. A six year old, an eight year old and a 10 year old barber that were not practicing physical distancing that we’re not considering the deep sanitation requirements wearing face coverings nor was there subject.
Gavin Newsom: (35:41)
And I say subject because they had at me, it was a family effort to remove what was described by my wife as forgive me a mullet. So that is not what we’re looking to in terms of guidance. Our family we’ll have to read these guidelines as well and make sure we modify our family behavior accordingly, but know that we worked with the industry and we think these guidelines are appropriate to the task. And I’ll keep you abreast on whether or not they’re met in my house.
Speaker 2: (36:17)
Kathleen Ronayne, AP.
Kathleen Ronayne: (36:20)
Hi, Governor. You just talked about this a little bit, but I’m hoping you can drill down a little bit more. So it was just last week that you made it possible for more and more counties to open broadly. Memorial day weekend was the first time we really saw widespread reopening across the state. And now you’re loosening restrictions even further. Are we giving ourselves enough time to evaluate the impact every time we loosen one restriction before we move on to the next? And why are you confident that we’re ready to loosen even more?
Gavin Newsom: (36:47)
We’re confident for all the reasons I just announced. The fact that our testing has substantially increased. And over the weekend, we were actually hitting one of our longterm goals of getting over 60,000 tests a day. The fact is we remained to see positivity rates, stable over a consistent period of time. I specifically gave you, and I appreciate you referencing a week ago, this seven day positivity test, which are important. Those positivity tests in the 4.1, 4.2 range, 14 and seven day period. The procurement of PPE, which all of you have written a lot about, has made a huge impact in our capacity to deliver the appropriate protective gear across sectors of our economy. That was not afforded even three or four weeks ago, but tens of millions of masks now have been distributed throughout the state of California, 10 plus million, just in the last seven days in the state of California though I can update that. I can assure you it’s well north of 10 million.
Gavin Newsom: (37:50)
Our tracing, which I neglected to reference a moment ago is also making progress. We had 560 people in that first training cohort. We had 400 in last week’s training cohort. We have 360 people in this weeks. We now have the ability through a directive, through a health or rather our human resource agency for 5% of the workforce in the state of California, to supplement and begin getting trained for our tracing purposes.
Gavin Newsom: (38:21)
We’ve got existing army of about 3000 tracers that are already working throughout the state of California. Again, all of these things stack up as a way of answering your questions, not a sound bite. It’s the combination of all of those factors coming together and beginning to paint a different picture in terms of our capacity to deliver on what we’re promoting, but also respond as it relates to the unknown. Because again, I’m not naive. We are entering into the unknown, the untested, and we’re going on a journey together. And that’s why one has to be guided by the principle of openness and transparency as it relates to what’s happening on the ground in counties and cities all across the state of California.
Gavin Newsom: (39:02)
In counties and cities all across the state of California. And if we start to see some numbers that are out of the spectrum of what we anticipated, and remember, we anticipate an increase in the number of cases. As you have more mixing, you have more opening and the economy, that’s inevitable, but that’s not in and of itself an alarm bell. It’s the positivity rate, it’s our capacity to hospitalize protect, make sure that we are preserving our framework of public health frame as we move into that next phase that is foundational.
Gavin Newsom: (39:42)
So again, I’m guided by what our health officials and professionals are telling me is appropriate, and that’s why respectful, you’re hearing critique and some sectors that we’re having moved fast enough or that the modifications are restrictive, which I recognize in each of these sectors, there are modifications that have to be met as well, and we hope to loosen those up as we move forward. But we believe with the modifications that we have, the time to test the theory of our case and to make adjustments, if indeed we need to dial it back or loosen them more into the future.
Speaker 3: (40:27)
[inaudible 00:40:27] Fox 11.
Speaker 4: (40:30)
Thank you, governor. Let’s talk for a moment about the 11 counties that haven’t hit that attestation. In LA County, some of the leaders have suggested that there are part of the counties that are doing much better than other part of the counties, like you referenced the nursing home problem. Would you be open to certain areas in individual counties being able to move forward, even if other areas aren’t. And a second question, if you will, the entertainment industry, I’m curious, what’s the holdup in terms of releasing those guidelines. If you tell us a little bit more about the back and forth going on there.
Gavin Newsom: (41:03)
The holdup is actually a very positive development. The industry and labor asked for a little bit more time as they work through some issues. We thought that was a very healthy thing and I was very encouraged by that. They were inspired by some of the framework that was advanced as I referenced a moment ago by grocers in that industry where they work together across differences that predated this pandemic and focused on a future and a fate that they share. So we’re very encouraged by that. Also, full disclosure has a national implication as well. It’s not just the state of California. We’re working with other States and their partnerships to see if we can be guided in a spirit of collaboration on a process where we can go together.
Gavin Newsom: (41:46)
As it relates to LA County, the answer is affirmative. Yes, we’ve been working with LA County officials, tremendous partnership with their leaders and we have had those conversations specifically about the County of LA in particular, its size and scope, its budget that’s as large, as many, many States in our union. We look forward to working with them more substantively and specifically about areas that they would recommend. Again, their health director talking to our health director, and obviously you may know this, it may not be obvious to others, but our current health and human service director comes from LA County, deep roots there and has deep recognition of that request in the context of the geographic disparities and the spread of this virus, of being disparate among different regions within that county.
Speaker 3: (42:42)
Nicole Nixon, Capital Public Radio.
Nicole Nixon: (42:46)
Hi governor, you told us about a month ago that the state got 90,000 test swabs from the federal government and then 250,000 the next week and more after that. Are we still receiving test materials and other resources, PPEs from the federal government? What are those and how often are they coming in?
Gavin Newsom: (43:03)
Yeah, I can provide you that list in terms of the details. You saw from the numbers, 67,000 test 61,000 tests, over 50,000 tests, that’s the last three days. We are moving forward, which suggests with the testing that we have, the supplies, the reagents, the swabs, the viral media for transporting these tests. Again, these are just the PCR tests. I know some other States completed PCR tests and antibody tests. This is just the PCR frame. So we’re getting some supplies from the federal government. Those were relatively modest, the specific 90 and the 250,000 compared to the totality of what we are procuring individually ourselves and what many of the labs and hospitals are procuring themselves in addition to the state.
Gavin Newsom: (43:52)
So look, we’re getting more supplies, but we’re not waiting around for the federal government to resolve or solve many of these issues, and that includes on the PPE. Vast majority of the procurement on PPE as you know, we’ve done directly as a state in partnership with FEMA, which is definition the federal government, and I just want to reinforce that. FEMA has been an incredible partner, maintains itself in terms of their status from my humble perspective of excellence across the spectrum, not just our regional director, but the entire team at FEMA. That’s a strong partnership with the federal government, with the administration. And so I think one has to expand the definition of support and consider that that foundational support as it relates to many of the programs we’ve announced in the state, and so much of our procurement is done in council and in partnership with those federal agencies substantively led by FEMA
Speaker 3: (44:53)
Final question. Ashley [inaudible 00:00:44:54], Kron Four
Hi governor. Just seeing if you saw the president’s tweet today about mail in ballots and hoping that you stop it because it could be substantially fraudulent.
Gavin Newsom: (45:09)
Well, there’s no evidence of that, respectfully. Quite the contrary, there’s been many, many studies, three well reviewed studies, one from Loyala Law School and one from Washington post, another from the George W. Bush administration through the department of justice. Just in terms of those three studies, I think it’s important for people to understand the magnitude of those analysis. The Loyola Law School analysis run by Justin Levitt looked 2000 to 2014, looked at 1 billion ballots that were submitted. Couldn’t even find a hundred that were “fraudulent,” in fact only found 31 out of 1 billion ballots that were cast. George W did a five year review through the department of justice. They found no major voter fraud. In fact, no fraud of any meaningful impact.
Gavin Newsom: (46:08)
We also saw a more recent example of 135 million ballots that were reviewed within the Washington post that wrote extensively about this. And they found just four incidents of individuals not doing the right thing. By the way, each and every one of those, all 31, all four should be absolutely reviewed, researched, addressed, and there should be sanctions for people that are doing the wrong thing.
Gavin Newsom: (46:36)
But the reality is overwhelming. Majority of people are doing the right thing. In Utah, hardly a bastion of progressive politics has been doing mail only ballots for number of years, Colorado, as well as Oregon and Washington, other States for years and years, the state of California has been doing it for decades. Many other States across this country have been using absentee ballots, people for service, men and women overseas using absentee ballots in a secure, safe, and honorable manner. It doesn’t skew Democrat, doesn’t skew Republican. We’re just focusing on public health. And we want to make sure again, in the spirit, I appreciate this being the last question because it connects to the opening statement, I want to make sure that people recognize we are not even through phase one of this pandemic. And the reality is, when we come in to the next flu season, potentially the next COVID-19 season, it’s around election time. And the last thing we want to do is deny you your fundamental right, hard fought, right.
Gavin Newsom: (47:40)
Just had Memorial day weekend. People literally living and dying to protect your freedom, freedom to vote. That’s what a democracy, foundation of a democracy is built on. Freedom and the right to vote. People literally giving their lives to that cause to defend your freedom to vote. I don’t want to deny you that right because of public health. And that’s what this option, it’s not male only, it’s option, and the ability to have an architecture of in person voting options does in the state of California. I think it’s a noble cause. I think it’s an appropriate cause and I don’t think it’s political in any way, shape or form. And I say that in the core of my being, I don’t just say that as a democratic governor of a large blue state, I say that as an American citizen, I say that as someone who believes deeply in democracy and believes in the cause of encouraging people to exercise their rights, their privilege, their freedom to vote for, against, pro, con, whatever one chooses to do, but to do it in a safe manner. And we’ll do it in a responsible manner and deprive those points of access.
Gavin Newsom: (48:54)
And again, I don’t know the benefits of politicizing this because I don’t think it deserves to be politicized. This is a health issue and it’s an issue on the basis of principle that we advanced it here in the state of California and I hope and encourage others to consider the same. I hope we can temper our comments on the other side though I recognize we are in a political season.
Gavin Newsom: (49:17)
Let me thank you, all of you for allowing us to, again, season of sorts, a new season here in the state of California, moving into phase three. Allowing us that privilege and opportunity is because of the work of 40 million California. Let me thank each and every one of you. Those who have exercised their voice of frustration, those that have exercised your voice of concern and consternation, let me just express deep appreciation to every single one of you for meeting this moment, for doing what you needed to do to allow us to build our capacity, to build a system of support that if and when, and we are now in that process of moving into phase three, when we reopened this economy that we are prepared for the unknown, and do so again with a deep realization of our responsibility, collective responsibility to one another, to continue to suppress the spread of this disease until we get those immunizations, till we get immunity.
Gavin Newsom: (50:18)
And until then, we have to live with this reality, but we are doing so together in remarkable ways, and I could not be more proud as a California to be your governor at this time and more proud of each and every one of you for doing what you have done to allow California to get to this point in just eight or nine weeks, and to begin that process of reinvigorating the California economy so we come back more resilient, more capable, more stronger than ever. And that mark my words, will happen as long as we continue to take seriously our responsibility and make sure we take seriously the issues that brought us to this moment in the first place, and that is COVID-19 and the insidiousness of this virulent disease that has to be tamed and defeated and we’ll do it together.
Gavin Newsom: (51:06)
Thank you all very, very much.