Just over one year into the pandemic and the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel appears to shine brighter and brighter. As of today, over 20 million Californians have received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, and 4 million of those are in the state’s hardest-hit areas. It is a day of milestones and one that also revealed a brand new target date for the state. Residents of California should be proud today, as Governor Gavin Newsom announces the plan to fully reopen California on June 15. The news is exciting and is contingent upon the current downward trajectory of cases and hospitalizations across the state.
A Downward Trajectory
The 20 million vaccinated and the 4 million vaccinated in hard-hit areas are two huge factors in the Governor’s decision. Other key factors contributing to the new reopening date:
- Over a 7-day period, California has reported a 1.6% positivity rate, the lowest in the country
- There are currently 1,367 COVID-19 cases in California
- 16 counties are moving into less restrictive tiers in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy
- California has administered more doses than all but 5 nations in the world
- California has delivered 7 million more doses than any other state in the country
Governor Newsom touched on the state’s framework to deliver doses:
“We’ve designed a system that allows the state of California to deliver 5.8 million doses in one week in California. Currently, we are receiving about 2.5 million [per week.]”Governor Gavin Newsom (from ABC7)
Clearly, the only thing hindering an even more massive vaccine rollout in California is the production of the COVID-19 vaccines. In fact, Newsom anticipates that more than 30 million first doses will be administered by the end of this month. That number is reachable because of the opening of vaccinations to everyone over 16 years old.
Turning a Corner
The Governor cautioned that the case numbers must continue to drop for the June 15th reopening to happen. But he also had a hopeful tone in relation to the economy.
“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it is time to turn the page on our tier system and begin looking to fully reopen California’s economy. We can now begin planning for our lives post-pandemic.”
To reopen California on June 15 also means the shuttering of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which has been in effect since August 2020.
What It All Means
Unfortunately, the state did not explicitly state the exact figures needed to safely reopen on June 15th in today’s press conference. Neither Governor Newsom nor Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly provided specifics. Mark Ghaly stated that if hospitalization and vaccination measures are met, the reopening can occur. More specifically that means that everyday activities will be allowed and businesses can open with common-sense risk reduction measures. Additionally, the state’s mask mandate will continue to stay in place, with no date set for lifting that order.
Events at stadiums and other large venues will be permitted, according to Ghaly. However, conventions with over 5,000 people are capped at 5,000 people until October 1st, unless testing or vaccination status is verified for all attendees.