While painting a rosy picture of California’s work controlling the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom again preached continued vigilance and mask-wearing, despite Texas and Mississippi lifting such mandates, noting that yet another virus variant has been found in the state.
“We’re making progress but it is … not mission accomplished,” Newsom said during a visit to Long Beach. “And as we transition over the course of the next 90 to 100 days to get where the president and others have assured us we will be — and that’s a framework of abundance as it relates to vaccines and we begin to more quickly reopen our businesses and our schools — we must be mindful of these variants.”
Newsom said the state on Tuesday discovered the first New York variants of the virus in Southern California. He did not specify where the cases were found.
The New York variant has been spreading rapidly in recent days, with more than 700 cases — mostly on the East Coast — confirmed since it was first detected in November. Like other variants, the New York variety is also believed to be more easily passed from person-to-person, but federal authorities including Dr. Anthony Fauci have warned that the variant could be more resistant to current COVID vaccines.
“That’s why it’s essential and incumbent that we not put down our guard, moreover, remove our masks as it relates to addressing the transmissibility of this disease that is still taking thousands of lives every single day — hundreds of lives lost every single day here in the state of California,” Newsom said. “It is a deadly disease. It is not taking spring break off. It has not taken a day off since this time last year.
“We will defeat it. We will turn the proverbial page. We are doing so, but let us please maintain our vigilance as we work through and get to the herd immunity.”
Newsom noted that as of Wednesday, the testing-positivity rate in the state has dropped to 2.2%, noting there are “only a few states in America with lower positivity rates than California.”