Last month, Californians were hit with new restrictions on businesses and lockdown orders in response to a surge in COVID-19 infection across the state.
This week, however, Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a reversal, confirming that he would be relaxing the shutdown orders, prompting speculation regarding whether his decision was rooted in science or politics.
Newsom points to positive pandemic data
As Breitbart noted, coronavirus cases in California, along with related deaths and hospitalizations, remain elevated, although experts indicate the numbers are declining.
Nevertheless, rumors of an imminent repeal of some of the lockdown orders began to spread across the state and beyond over the weekend, culminating in the governor’s announcement on Monday.
Evidence has shown that, despite fears of a massive surge in cases tied to the holiday season, the numbers have not been as bad as some forecasts predicted. Meanwhile, businesses and individuals increasingly began to speak out against the stifling restrictions put in place by Newsom.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Sunday that his decision to partially reopen California was based on projections showing an acceptable level of available capacity in intensive care units at hospitals in all regions of the state.
According to the Associated Press, Newsom explained during a virtual press conference on Monday why he felt comfortable lifting the lockdown measures enacted just weeks prior.
State’s color-coded system returns
“We’re seeing a flattening of the curve — everything that should be up is up, everything that should be down is down — case rates, positivity rates, hospitalizations, ICUs,” he said.
In his latest order, Newsom is allowing low-contact outdoor activities to resume, including at restaurants and houses of worship, while some of the capacity limitations on indoor services like retail stores and hair salons have been somewhat relaxed. All regions of the state will now return to a prior reopening plan implemented midway through last year that includes a four-tier, color-coded system dictating approved activities by businesses and individuals.
Of course, his decision to roll back certain restrictions came as a surprise to many in the state in light of his administration’s hesitancy to reveal the underlying data used in its considerations of the lockdown policies.
KXTV reported that Newsom’s critics have speculated that his self-serving career instincts were possibly at play in the timing of his announcement, though he dismissed the concerns as “utter nonsense.”
With more than 1.2 million of the 1.5 million signatures needed by mid-March to initiate a recall effort against him, however, assertions that he is motivated by partisan expediency cannot be so easily dismissed.