California lifts the covid-19 health emergency almost three years after decreeing it | Society | The USA Print

A woman walks past mannequins wearing face masks in Los Angeles in December 2020.Jae C Hong (AP)

California has officially lifted this Tuesday the end of the health emergency caused by the coronavirus. It is the closure after almost three years of the decree, which allowed the local executive to obtain more resources to combat the virus in the most populous state in the country. The local government has implied that it is a symbolic closure and that the health authorities will continue to monitor the progress of the variants, which have left 12 million infections and a balance of 100,000 deaths, a figure that was reached a few days ago.

The office of the governor, Gavin Newsom, has affirmed this Tuesday that the mortality rate in California was among the lowest in the United States with 255 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants (the national average was 339). The State was one of the strictest in decreeing confinement measures, prioritized the vaccination of the inhabitants and expanded hospital capacity. The use of face masks has remained a very present habit among Californians. “If California had had the same rate as Texas, 27,000 more people would have died,” said the local Executive in a comparison with the great Republican State. And they estimate that if they had implemented the same policies as in Florida, another conservative stronghold, they would have 56,000 more deaths.

Newsom decreed the emergency on March 4, 2020, days after the first death recorded in the entity. That day only 53 cases of the new virus were known, but the projections in the hands of state epidemiologists calculated a rapid expansion of infections in a region that is the gateway to many of the diseases from Asia. The emergency declaration gave the governor the necessary power to coordinate the efforts of the extensive public system, but also in private centers and over hotels and motels that would serve to quarantine the sick. In addition, the measure assured the Californian economy of an extraordinary income of federal resources.

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This inflow of money from Washington helped California implement one of the most complex vaccination plans in the country. In total, 88 million vaccines were administered. The authorities calculate that the number represents that 73% of the State received some type of immunization. The cost of these and the tests will continue to be covered by the state budget until next November.

The announcement made this Tuesday also has negative consequences for one of the neediest communities in the state, immigrants. The local Executive reported a few days ago that it cannot continue financing the support centers for the undocumented, places where citizens of other nations, mainly from Mexico and Central America, are served with food, vaccines and masks. These centers are also the first points of contact for those who suspect they are infected with covid-19. Newsom said in January that local money will gradually be withdrawn in the coming months, waiting for the federal administration of President Joe Biden to cover the expense. The aid was offered for two years. The governor now says that budgetary pressures and a growing deficit are driving him to take the measure.

Newsom himself had announced the reopening of the State in June 2021, with which businesses could say goodbye to the most restrictive measures. California’s economy appears to have put the hit caused by the pandemic behind it. Last year, the entity registered a GDP of 3,400 trillion dollars in 2022, being one of the largest economic engines in the region. But the labor market did not recover as quickly. Just in January, local authorities reported the creation of 621,000 jobs. This figure finally settled the jobs destroyed by the health emergency, some three million. California, however, closed last year with one of the lowest unemployment rates: 4.1%.

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