SACRAMENTO (CBS SF) — All four living former California governors – Pete Wilson, Gray Davis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown – have agreed to join a task force to come up with a recovery plan for the state’s economy, shattered by soaring unemployment brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said even as the state is looking toward recovery, the pandemic is continuing its deadly toll with the most number of people in the state dying of the illness in any 24-hours period since the start of the outbreak.READ MORE: UPDATE: Fawn Fire Grows to 6,850 Acres in Shasta County; No New Structures Destroyed
“I noted at the outset, 985 families torn apart because of the loss of loved ones; 95 lost [since yesterday], the worst 24-hour period since this virus attacked people in the state of California The worst number of deaths that we have experienced. That is humbling and it should be eye-opening to people who think we are out of the woods.”
With at least 28,000 people now in the state contracting COVID-19 in California, Newsom said the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU dropped 1.4 percent. While that might be the latest encouraging sign that the state is continuing to flatten the curve, the governor noted it was not enough yet to celebrate the end of the pandemic or lift the current shelter-in-place order.
While other states were announcing that they were moving ahead with plans to reopen, Newsom maintained that California would stay the course with social distancing and the stay at home order. “We are not ready to do that yet,” said Newsom.
Newsom said Friday the pandemic has ushered in a period of severe economic downturn that will require bipartisan action to spur the recovery. Newsom announced the formation of an 80-member council of business leaders and lawmakers to map out the state’s recovery.
“We are now in a pandemic-induced recession here in the State of California,” said Newsom.
Former California governors – Republicans Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Democrats Gray Davis and Jerry Brown – have all agreed to be part of the advisory group, Newsom said.
One of the co-chairs of the group is entrepreneur, philanthropist, activist and former Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, who will join Newsom’s chief of staff Ann O’Leary to chair the Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery. The panel will also include former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Walt Disney Company Executive Chairman Bob Iger.
“Some of the most well known business leaders…and social-justice warriors reside here in California,” said Newsom. “We have tasked 80 of them to begin to work through each sector of our economy to put together tangible, actionable ideas for short-term, medium-term and long-term recovery.”
Newsom says the state will need to spend up to $7 billion this year battling the both the pandemic and the economic disruption it has unleashed as state budget experts have warned lawmakers to prepare for revenue loss akin to the Great Recession.READ MORE: Costco Limits Water, Toilet Paper, Other Purchases Due To Supply Chain Delays
“I recognize the exuberance some of us have around entering into the next phase conversation about economic growth and economic recovery and the desire to attach dates and deadlines to those strategies,” said Newsom. “I of course am never tempered by dates and deadlines. I am only guided by health and science, real data at a granular level, bottom up not top down.”
“Health and safety have to be paramount here in California, but everyone is also hurting economically,” said Steyer. “People across the state are worried about their jobs and how they are going to take care of their families. I think it’s very important at the outset to point out that resource-starved communities have been hit the hardest by this and are suffering the most.”
On Friday, California’s unemployment rate jumped to 5.3% in March, up from 3.9% the previous month. The Employment Development Department said that employers lost 99,500 non-farm jobs, ending California’s record jobs expansion of 120 months.
The employment data reflected the survey week of March 12 and partially predates the economic impact created by the COVID-19 outbreak. The increase of 1.4 percentage points from February to March is the state’s largest unemployment rate increase on record in a data series going back to 1976. Unemployment figures for April will be released on May 22.
Unemployment data reflecting the coronavirus restrictions won’t be available until next month. But Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek said the number of people who have filed for unemployment benefits — more than 2.7 million as of Wednesday — indicate between 12 percent and 15 percent of Californians have lost their jobs.
In terms of total numbers, on Friday the Governor said there were 27,528 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 3,180 of those cases in hospitals.
Newsom also said the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU in California dropped 1.4 percent Thursday. While that might be the latest encouraging sign that the state is continuing to flatten the curve, the Governor noted it was not enough yet to celebrate the end of the pandemic or lift the current shelter-in-place order.
Though other states were announcing that they were moving ahead with plans to reopen, Newsom maintained that California would stay the course with social distancing and the stay at home order.
“We are not ready to do that yet,” said Newsom. “As I noted at the outset, 985 families torn apart because of the loss of loved ones; 95 lost [since yesterday], the worst 24 hour period since this virus attacked people in the state of California. The worst number of deaths that we have experienced. That is humbling and it should be eye-opening to people who think we are out of the woods.”MORE NEWS: SF City Planners Won't Allow Taqueria El Farolito In North Beach Due To 'Chain Store' Ban
© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.