California Gov. Gavin Newsom was half an hour behind his party on Monday. He is scheduled to speak at a Covid-19 press conference at 11:30 PM, and did not appear until noon. This is unlike the ruler, but this is an extraordinary time for him.
Newsom is the target of a statewide recall effort, and activists working to put him out to vote say they have secured 1.3 million signatures out of the 1.5 million required.
Also on Monday, the new Republican contender announced his intention to challenge the governor if he can be re-elected: businessman John Cox, who Newsom easily won the last election. Cox threw his hat back into the ring on Monday with an ad portraying himself as an outlandish one.
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“I am a businessman, not a politician,” he says in the ad. “It is time for a fresh start.”
Cox joins fellow Republican and former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconner in the race.
Hiccups in the country’s handling of the Covid-19 response, such as the massive accumulation of data, have hurt Newsom. Likewise, his poor judgment of joining a crowd of friends and lobbyists at The French Laundry shortly before Covid ordered restrictions on restaurants in the state.
There is also a flurry of unemployment fraud disclosures in the state. With federal money pouring in to help those affected by the pandemic last fall, nearly $ 1 billion was sent fraudulently eligible inmates for assistance. And it wasn’t just prisoners taking advantage of the chaos.
A government review on Jan 28 estimated that the amount of EDD fraud committed in California between March and December 2020 could be as high as $ 10.4 billion.
Recently, hiccups in distributing vaccines – which Newsom insists it’s not the state’s fault – have upset many voters. Add to this the governor’s confusing priorities as to who should get the vaccine, and there is a growing sense that retrieval efforts are gaining momentum.
A new poll last week showed that only 46% of state voters approve of portfolio performance, according to Politico. The Berkeley Institute for Public Studies poll also found that two-thirds of voters approved of Newsom’s actions in September.
On Monday, the governor announced that the state had recorded just over 10,000 new cases in the past 24 hours. “A month ago, we had more than 50,000 cases,” said Newsom. He also mentioned that the state now has a positive test rate of 5%. That’s down from 14% in just two weeks. The intensive care beds occupied by Covid-19 patients have decreased by 25% in the same period.
“Everything must be lifted, everything must be down,” Newsom said. Well, not quite.
The governor admitted, “With regard to vaccinations, we cannot move fast enough.” He said the state will receive 1.2 million doses this week, but only 540,000 of those are for first doses. “We need to see more doses coming into the country to keep these sites up and running,” he said.
What is more, when asked about protecting teachers with the approaching opening of schools, the governor said, “We are giving priority to our teachers.”
But there was constant confusion about who was eligible and at what provincial stage the vaccine had started in the provinces. Some of this is because the plan itself has changed. Some of them were due to the language they used – “levels” is also an important term that was spread in the ruler’s reopening plan. Some of this, Newsom says, is because it allowed local health personnel “freely” to decide who gets the vaccine, so eligible residents move from county to county.
Now, California is in phase 1A of vaccine distribution, which covers health care workers as well as workers and residents of skilled nursing facilities and other long-term homes. Some counties move to Phase 1B, Level 1, which includes people ages 65 and over, education workers – such as teachers – and childcare workers, emergency service workers, and food and agricultural workers – such as farm workers and grocery workers.
Los Angeles health officials said Monday that vaccinations for teachers, law enforcement and food workers are still “two weeks” away.