Regal Cinemas in Jack London Square remains closed in Oakland on Sept. 9, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
Here we go again.
As Thanksgiving approaches, California is racking up a series of grim statistics. On Thursday, it became the second state to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases — the same day it recorded more new infections than all but nine other days of the pandemic. On Friday, top state public health officials said California’s weekly positive case rate is up 47%, the fastest rate of increase since the pandemic began. Hospitalizations have shot up 51% and intensive-care admissions 43% in the last two weeks, CalMatters’ tracker shows. The rates are similar to those that forced California into a second lockdown this summer. Heading into the Fourth of July weekend, the Golden State’s positive case rate was up 37%, hospitalizations 56% and ICUs 49%.
Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s health and human services secretary, said Friday there aren’t any immediate plans for another stay-at-home order. Still, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a travel advisory Friday asking residents to avoid non-essential travel and to self-quarantine for 14 days if they travel out of the state or country.
- Ghaly: “As I say to my patients often, ‘When I’m worried, I’ll tell you so you can worry with me,’ and we’re there.”
The state’s message of caution was hampered by the news, reported Friday by the San Francisco Chronicle, that Newsom recently attended a birthday party at the three-Michelin-starred French Laundry restaurant in Napa County with people from multiple households. California in October prohibited gatherings of more than three households.
- Newsom: “While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner.”
The news is likely to heighten resistance to the governor’s public health orders. With 11 counties backsliding into more restrictive reopening tiers last week, many business owners are at their wits’ end. Some are furiously suing counties and the state; others refuse to comply with yet another round of shutdowns.
- Jeff Kacha, owner of Rudford’s Restaurant in San Diego, which plans to comply with the shutdown: “Give me the COVID, because I’d rather have COVID than starve.”
CalMatters.org is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media venture explaining California policies and politics.
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