On Tuesday, May 5, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order announcing that this Friday the state will move to Stage Two of his 4-stage COVID-19 “framework,” wherein reopening of “lower-risk businesses” and spaces will be allowed to reopen, to be followed by the reopening of higher-risk
businesses and spaces in Stage Three.
Even then, Newsom reserves the right of:
- The State Public Health Officer to revise the criteria and procedures of Stage Two “as she deems necessary to respond to the dynamic threat posed by COVID19”; and of
- County and local health officers “to establish and implement public health measures within their respective jurisdictions that are more restrictive than” the statewide Stage Two policy. As an example, Newsom’s Stage Two announcement conflicts with a more restrictive mandate issued Monday in six Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara) which continues to prohibit most retail businesses, except for “essential” businesses such as grocery stores, from opening through May 31. Newsom said counties can keep their more strict guidelines in place and do not have to come into compliance with the state order: “We are not telling locals that feel it’s too soon, too fast to modify.”
SFGate reports that the “lower-risk businesses” that are allowed to reopen in Stage Two include bookstores, clothing shops, sporting goods stores and flower shops, provided that (a) their local officials give approval; and (b) the businesses make changes in their operations, such as having workers wear masks. Newsom will detail the new guidelines and requirements later this week.
Dine-in restaurants and offices will be part of a “later Stage 2 opening” –whatever that means.
More disturbing still is what Newsom said at a press briefing in Sacramento yesterday — California will not return to “normal” until there is immunity from the Wuhan virus SARS-CoV-2 via a vaccine. He said:
“We’re not going back to normal. It’s a new normal with adaptations and modifications, until we get to immunity and a vaccine.”
Readers’ comments on SFGate are mostly critical of Newsom. The best comment is this one from reader “gilgotha”:
Must…drag…it…out…until…November 4. Its just science… Political science
The problems with a vaccine are:
- Although a vaccine had been created by Moderna Therapeutics, a biotech company based in Cambridge, Mass., and the NIH is readying the vaccine for human testing, it could be 12 to 18 months at best before it’s ready for the public — which means California won’t return to normal until one to 1½ years from now, at best.
- The Wuhan coronavirus has already mutated into at least 30 different strains, which means whatever vaccine that is developed will not be 100% effective, just as the vaccine for the seasonal flu is, at best, only partially effective. As an example, the 2019-2020 seasonal flu vaccine is only 45% effective — “effective” defined as reduction in doctor’s visits for flu illness.
- According to a new survey, one-third of Americans say they won’t get vaccinated against the Wuhan virus even if/when a vaccine becomes available. (Daily Mail)