SAN BERNARDINO (CBS SF) — Gov. Gavin Newson boldly predicted Friday that if there was a massive surge of unvaccinated Californians getting a shot of vaccine, the rapid rise of COVID delta variant cases and indoor mask mandates for business and public places could end within 30 days.
Newsom was appearing in San Bernardino to celebrate the beginning of the 2021-22 school year — a return to the classroom for in-class instructions after more than a year of remote learning to stem the spread of COVID.READ MORE: Hollywood Movie, TV Workers Reach Deal With Producers to Avert Strike
“This is a proud moment,” he said. “To see these kids back in school, to see this scene (students returning to the classroom) throughout California.”
But his remarks quickly turned to the battle with COVID.
“We have been previewing this for many, many months,” he said of the fight against COVID. “We’ve been managing and monitoring over 12 different mutations of this virus over the course of the last 9 months to a year. The West Coast virus of this there were two variants was the dominant variant here in California. That’s no longer the case. Not dissimilar to the rest of the country, the delta variant.”
“While it’s true, that California has administered more doses of vaccine than any other state in the nation, over 45 million – about 18 million more than the next highest state – we still haven’t gotten enough people vaccinated.”
He said that 76.7 percent of all Californians eligible for the vaccine have received at least one dose.
For the week of July 31, the average case rate among unvaccinated Californians is 33 per 100,000 per day and the average case rate among vaccinated Californians is significantly lower at 7 per 100,000 per day.READ MORE: COVID Vaccination Count in San Mateo County Revised Down Due to Data Error
The vast majority of new cases are among the unvaccinated with 470% higher case rates among the unvaccinated than for those who are vaccinated.
“It not enough,” he said of the vaccination rate. “We can end his pandemic. We could put this behind us in a month. It’s a choice at the end of the day.”
Then Newsom turned his attention to mask mandates. Solano County remains the last Bay Area region not put an indoor mass mandate in place for businesses and public places. Napa County’s mandate went into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.
“You are going to ask me about mask mandates,” he said. “If we get everyone vaccinated, that’ll be the last time you have to ask that question. We could take these masks off once and for all. Those that are unvaccinated, need to get vaccinated.”
As it applies students wearing masks in the classroom, Newsom said he expects schools to abide by the state code requiring them. Orange County Board of Education has threatened to court to get an order blocking the school masking requirement.
“We want to keep our kids safe. We want them back for in-person instruction,” he said. “We don’t want our kids back on Zoom school…We have in our education code this requirement, we expect districts as we always have, to abide with what’s in the education code.”
Newsom also said he had no immediate plans to require teachers to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.MORE NEWS: Proposed I-880 Overpass, Street Extension in San Jose Draws NIMBY Resistance
“We’re confident in the approach we’re taking at the moment,” the governor said.