SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California’s coronavirus emergency officially ends on Tuesday. This comes nearly three years after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the nation’s first statewide stay-at-home order and just days after the state reached his grim milestone of 100,000 deaths. virus.
As California’s state of emergency subsides, such declarations have continued in only five other states, including Texas and Illinois, temporarily suspending laws in response to the once-mysterious disease. It’s ending the governor’s expanded legal authority to stop. President Joe Biden announced last month that the federal government would end its own version on May 11.
The end of California’s order will affect most people as Newsom has already lifted most of the state’s restrictions, including requiring masks, closing beaches and closing many businesses. It marks the end of an era that once dramatically changed the lives of the state’s nearly 40 million residents.
The Illinois order ends in May, along with the federal order, while the governors of Rhode Island and Delaware recently extended their coronavirus emergency declarations. In New Mexico, public health officials are considering whether to extend her COVID-19 health emergency beyond Friday’s deadline.
Meanwhile, Texas has had no major coronavirus restrictions for years, but Republican Governor Greg Abbott continues to extend the state’s state of emergency declaration. We need masks and vaccines. Abbott said he would maintain the state of emergency and his expanded powers until the Republican-controlled Texas legislature passes a law that would prevent local governments from imposing virus restrictions on their own.
The conflicting styles suggest that while the emergency may be ending, political divisions are not. It foreshadows years of conflicting narratives about the pandemic by his two potential presidential candidates, Newsom and Abbott.
Newsom has used his powers to force all California municipalities to impose restrictions during the pandemic, even threatening to cut funding to some cities that refuse to enforce restrictions. there was. California’s state of emergency has ended, but other areas of the state, including Los Angeles County, home to nearly 10 million people, remain in state.
The Los Angeles emergency order encourages the use of masks in public places such as businesses and trains, and for residents who have been exposed to the virus. Valid for at least one more month. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will discuss whether to terminate the order on March 31.
Many public health experts say it makes sense that the California order is coming to an end.
Brad Pollock, director of public health sciences at the University of California, Davis, said: “What happened in those three years is that we have vaccines, we have antivirals, and we have more knowledge about how to care for patients from a supportive care perspective. The risk of dying is a fraction of what it used to be.”
The Newsom administration’s approach was to impose broad restrictions on what people could do and where they could go. California ended up doing better than others, according to Jeffrey Klausner, professor of clinical population and public health sciences at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, but some others, like Sweden, have It was worse than the national result.
“More deaths could probably have been avoided if we had focused our resources on those most at risk,” he said.
Carmella Coyle, president and CEO of the California Hospital Association, said the pandemic has strained California’s healthcare system and has yet to fully recover. She said hospitals remain overwhelmed, not from COVID patients, but from the influx of people returning to the health system after being away during the pandemic. It said it was in the red, raising concerns that some hospitals could close, as did a regional hospital in the state’s Central Valley, which closed in December.
“While the state’s COVID public health emergency is officially over, the health system emergency remains,” Coyle said.
Health care workers are also feeling the strain, working long hours among people infected with highly contagious and potentially life-threatening diseases. This burden has created a labor shortage, with competing proposals to remedy it. The California Hospital Association is seeking a temporary infusion of $1.5 billion to keep the hospital alive. Labor unions, meanwhile, support a bill that would raise the minimum wage for healthcare workers to $25.
Meanwhile, local public health departments are concerned that the end of the coronavirus emergency means a return to limited funding. This was a problem that became apparent early in the pandemic when many counties did not have enough personnel to respond to the crisis. Newsom last year signed a budget in which he will spend $200 million to help the public health sector hire more workers. This year, he is proposing to cut his nearly $50 million in public health workforce training programs as part of a plan to cover the projected budget deficit.
“Public health depends on a frontline workforce, and that frontline workforce must be skilled, trained, and educated,” said Michelle Ms. Gibbons said.
Overall, Newsom’s budget would sustain $300 million in public health spending, including $100 million needed for 404 new jobs in state public health departments, including worker training and emergency services. It includes areas of preparedness and response. The funds will “modernize state and local public health infrastructure and transition to resilient public health systems,” said H.D. Palmer, spokesperson for the California Department of Treasury.
Associated Press journalist Christopher Weber of Los Angeles. Paul Weber, Austin, Texas. Morgan Lee of Santa Fe, New Mexico contributed reporting.