California plans to lift all restrictions on coronavirus on June 15, provided there are enough Covid-19 vaccines for all people over the age of 16 and hospitalizations remain low and stable, state officials said Tuesday.
The move in June will allow Californians to return to restaurants, bars, cinemas, places of worship and concerts for the first time in more than a year without strict capacity restrictions. President Biden said enough vaccines for all adults would be available by the end of May.
Other states have already eased health restrictions at a time when the Biden administration is praying for them not to introduce those changes yet. The country is facing a fourth possible increase in the virus and there are concerns about the spread of worrying versions of the virus. In many countries, the number of coronavirus cases is growing.
“I think if everyone continues on the path we are going now, it will be behind us, but it is not over yet,” Mr Biden said on Tuesday during a visit to a vaccination site in Alexandria, Va.
Later in the afternoon, during a statement at the White House, he emphasized how serious the fight against the virus is. “Let me be dead serious with you: we are not on target. We still have a lot of work to do, “he said. “We are still in a race of life and death against this virus.”
But in California, cases have been declining since they peaked earlier this year, and the state today records an average of about 2,700 new cases a day, the lowest figure since last June.
And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of Tuesday, 35 percent of the state’s total population has received at least one vaccine, and 18 percent have been fully vaccinated.
“With more than 20 million vaccines administered across the state, it’s time to turn the page about our level and start striving to fully open up the California economy,” Governor Gavin told News in a statement. “Now we can start planning our lives after the pandemic.”
The state, however, will retain the mandate of the mask for the foreseeable future, and there will be certain restrictions for major indoor events or congresses of more than 5,000 people at least until the fall.
The state has become a high-profile case study on ways in which reopening a huge economy can be much more complex, uneven, and politically burdened than shutting down.
California was the first state to carry out an order to stay at home last year, on March 19, dragging 40 million residents of the state into the largest experiment in the state in preventing the transmission of the virus, which was then shrouded in mystery.
Since then, California has shifted between different levels of restrictions, as new cases have increased, retreated, and then abruptly again, flooding hospitals in the winter, even as other states allowed full opening.
Mr. Newsom was widely criticized last year when he attended a birthday party of a lobbyist friend at one of Napa Valley’s most exclusive restaurants, French Laundry, after begging Californians to be vigilant and refrain from seeing his relatives during the holidays.
The ever-changing strategies of reopening his administration, implemented in part in 58 counties of the state, have also come under fire.
The latest announcement will repeal what California leaders called the “California”Draft for a safer economy, “Which set up a system of color-coded restrictions. As individual counties reached certain thresholds of cases, they were allowed to move through the levels, a system first introduced in August when the state faced an alarming rise in new cases.
Mr. Newsom and other state leaders stressed that the state must have the ability to quickly reintroduce emergency measures if hospitals start to fill up.
Around Thanksgiving, there were signs that the worst fears of public health officials would materialize. By December, hospitals – especially in hard-hit areas such as Los Angeles – were flooded with patients, and the state ordered Californians to stay at home.
Now that the focus has shifted to the state’s introduction of vaccines, Californians are frustrated with what they see as a confusing and chaotic effort.
When civil servants recently announced that the state would extend the acceptability of the vaccine to all persons older than 16 from April 15, Dr. Christopher Longhurst, chief health information officer at UC San Diego, predicted “continued frustration as more people meet the requirements, but supply is not available to meet demand. “
Experts have also criticized the process for allowing bypassing poorer and more severely affected communities, although government officials have repeatedly said that the capital for their efforts was a “star star.”
Leaders in California are painfully aware of the division between the richest and often whitest communities in the state, on the one hand, and its poorest communities, which often include predominantly Latin American workers, on the other, so equality advocates said speed and precision should be priority in vaccine distribution.
“Equality and scale are possible for the richest nations in the nation,” Jacqueline Martinez Garcel, executive director of the Latino Community Foundation, said recently.
State officials said Tuesday they are confident of the state’s ability to vaccinate millions more Californians over the next few months, including particularly vulnerable workers.
“We were very careful and measured who met the conditions for vaccination,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of State for Health and Human Services.