Coronavirus: California Announces Full Reopening for June 15 | Society

A table of diners at a downtown Los Angeles market in mid-March.
A table of diners at a downtown Los Angeles market in mid-March.FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP

With nearly 20 million vaccines injected, Californians have begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The local authorities of the State, the fifth largest economy in the world, have set the total reopening for June 15. With this, the local government considers that the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic in the entity have been left behind. “Now we can start planning our post-pandemic lives,” Governor Gavin Newsom said in a message this morning. The mandatory use of the mask will continue in force after the reopening of the State, where 34% of the population has been inoculated.

The streets in Los Angeles begin to remember normality. Although many shops and businesses remain closed or with restricted hours, more and more people eat in restaurants and take to the streets. And the cars too. Mobility levels on the roads connecting the metropolitan area, of more than 12 million people, have doubled from January levels in recent weeks. In the optimistic scenario drawn this morning by the authorities, all industries will be able to resume their normal operations while continuing “common sense measures to reduce risks”, such as the use of a mask and vaccination against covid-19.

“We need to keep our guard up and continue the practices that they have us here, mask use and vaccination, but the light at the end of the tunnel has never been brighter than it is now,” Governor Newsom has said. The announcement coincides with that of President Joe Biden, who has said that every adult in the United States will be able to make an appointment to get vaccinated as of April 19.

The message from the authorities, however, makes it clear that the June 15 date may not be final if some criteria are not met. First, that the State has a sufficient reserve of antigens for everyone over 16 years of age who wishes to be vaccinated. Second, that hospitalizations and the number of infected remain low, as it has been in recent weeks. The entity has a positivity rate of the disease of 1.6%. The number of admissions and patients in intensive care units continues to decline. California has recorded 58,541 coronavirus deaths as of Tuesday.

California vaccinates at a rate of 374,000 daily doses. Four million immunizations have been especially aimed at the communities hardest hit by the pandemic, where 40% of the deaths caused by covid-19 have been registered, mainly in the center of the state in localities, such as Fresno, and to the west and south of Los Angeles. This has been able to protect 70% of all those over 65 years of age, who have received at least one dose. Four out of 10 Californians over the age of 16 have also benefited from a dose. On April 15, authorities will lift group and age restrictions so that everyone over 16 years old receives a puncture if they wish.

The reopening, however, will have a few restrictions. Large conventions organized in the city will have a maximum limit of 5,000 participants until October unless visitors are required to test antigens or PCR to rule out infected. International visitors must prove that they have been vaccinated in their countries of origin.

The political effect

There is a political component to the reopening of California, a state that in 2019 had a GDP of $ 3 trillion. Governor Newsom, 53, faces an attempted revocation of his mandate, to be voted on later in the year, for managing the pandemic. His detractors, mainly Republicans, gathered signatures calling for the removal of the president, arguing delays in the distribution of the vaccine and incompetence in the immunization campaign. The Democratic ruler depends on good health results to keep his job. Polls clearly show that the more normal life is for the common Californian, the less likely the Republican attempt to remove him from the local capitol will have. And nothing better for that than the total reopening of the most populous state in the United States.

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