What does easing social distancing guidelines look like? California governor announces a plan

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a detailed plan for modifying statewide restrictions amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
SACRAMENTO -- As the country wonders when life is going to return closer to normal, the California governor is giving his opinion about what that might look like.

Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed on Tuesday an outline for lifting coronavirus restrictions in the nation's most populous state.

It was a decision he said he made without "political pressure," an apparent reference to President Donald Trump declaring himself the ultimate decision-maker for when states can reopen.
In addition to the plan, Newsom said that there would be no large scale events with hundreds or thousands of people until there is herd immunity and/or a vaccine. This could be months away.

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The governor described the plan as a six-pronged framework of parameters and tools that are needed before the state can implement major changes to the state's stay-at-home orders and other COVID-19 interventions:

1. A widespread expansion of coronavirus testing;

2. "Vigilant" protection of California's most vulnerable residents;
3. Focus on hospital care infrastructure and personal protective equipment, or PPE;
4. Engage researchers in academia, incuding the University of California, and at health and technology companies on the front lines of the pandemic;
5. "Redraw floor plans" at business locations with physical distancing in mind;
6. Determining when to re-institute certain measures, such as stay-at-home orders.

Describing himself as an "optimist," Newsom unveiled the strategy at his daily news conference while framing it as a transition from "surge to suppression" and a "bridge toward herd immunity and ultimately a vaccine."

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As for when the state could be reopened and stay-at-home orders loosened, the governor said the answer to that rhetorical question depends on two things: whether the state will "continue to hold the line" on the spread of the virus, including a decline in the number of new cases and hospitalizations, and the building of the infrastructure needed to battle the pandemic.

"Ask me the question again in two weeks," if those criteria are met, he said.

The announcement comes a week after Newsom's administration was sticking to a forecast of a possible tidal wave of COVID-19 cases in mid-May that could require up to 66,000 additional hospital beds.
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