California · COVID-19

Newsom’s “next phase” of coronavirus response is more ambiguous than ever

After teasing a shift in strategy last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom and California public health officials rolled out a new plan to address the latest stage of coronavirus response.

“What we’re announcing here today is about turning a page,” the Democratic governor said in a speech in San Bernardino County on Thursday, CNN reported. “We have all come to understand what was not understood at the beginning of this crisis, that there is no end date, that there is not a moment where we declare victory despite so many of the metaphors that were used during this pandemic — the war metaphors where we said, ‘We will defeat this virus.'”

“In that light, we have put together a plan that we coin as the ‘SMARTER’ plan because we are smarter two years later. We are more adaptable. We are more capable to understand the nature of this disease,” Newsom said.

The SMARTER plan is an acronym for the state’s seven priorities moving forward: Shots, masks, awareness, readiness, testing, education and Rx.

As noted by POLITICO, the 30-page document detailing the Newsom plan is devoid of the phrase “endemic,” a key phrase used by the Governor to indicate that Californians would be transitioning into a position of living with the virus rather than reverting to significant shutdowns or restrictive mandates.

While the plan eschews hard metrics for enacting virus-based restrictions, it lays out broader triggers for restrictive policy changes, albeit without committing to any specific course of action.

Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.