LOS ANGELES - “We want to be vigilant, and we don’t want to go too far only to fall three steps back.”
As criticism mounts about the restrictiveness of his state’s COVID reopening measures, Governor Gavin Newsom spoke exclusively with FOX 11’s Elex Michaelson about efforts to safely reopen California.
This, as the Golden State has logged more than 920,000 positive coronavirus cases, behind only Texas with 940,000. California’s 17,000 deaths place it third behind Texas and New York, which lost 33,000 when it was hit earlier this spring.
“Here’s the good news,” Newsom said of the state’s progress in combating the virus. “California has gotten our positivity rate down to around 3%…outperforming most of the rest of the country.”
“Here’s the bad news, that number has trended up in the last couple weeks,” he cautioned, pointing to the UK, Germany, and France which, this week, announced the reinstatement of lockdown measures to combat intense second waves of the virus. “We don’t want the fits and starts. We want a sustainable solution, so we’re driven by one thing, data, not by political decisions.”
Stressing the reliance on data, Newsom said that the state continues to rely on a tiered system, in which case and transmission rates determine how and when a county can ease restrictions.
This week, seven counties were upgraded to less restrictive tiers. Nine counties, including Los Angeles, with over 300,000 individual cases, remain in the most restrictive of the four tiers.
Newsom’s conversation with Michaelson took place at Dodger Stadium, where, alongside other Los Angeles landmarks such as SoFi Stadium, the Hollywood Palladium, and the Magic Castle, is now serving as a voting center through Election Day.
With some 10 million Californians having already cast their ballots, Michaelson asked Newsom to preview what the state may look like in the future depending on whether President Donald Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden claim victory on Tuesday.
“It’s more of the same,” Newsom said of a possible Trump re-election. “We’re involved in more than 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration, almost 60 in the environmental space, so we’re consistently playing defense, all the headwinds coming out of Washington, D.C. And while we’ve established a good working relationship, not a sparring one, on issues of wildfires and of COVID, the reality is that it’s tenuous, at best.”
It’s no surprise Newsom felt differently about a potential Biden win, which would elevate California Senator Kamala Harris to the Vice Presidency, leaving a vacancy which Newsom would be tasked with filling.
“A Biden administration,” Newsom anticipated. “No headwinds, tailwinds, ability to address those lawsuits, and an agenda that aligns with the values of this state, so we can accelerate our efforts on homelessness, on housing, get back to those pre-pandemic issues that are festering in the state that need to be addressed.”
In a wide-ranging interview on The Issue Is, Newsom, a San Francisco Giants fan, also discussed the Dodgers World Series win, the prospect of having to name a successor to Senator Harris, and dealing with the Governorship during a fraught time in the state’s history.
The Issue Is is California's only statewide political show. Watch FOX 11 Los Angeles Fridays at 10:30 p.m. and Sundays at 9 a.m. For more showtimes and information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.