Newsom, Trump Outline Frameworks for Reopening Society After COVID-19

This week, Governor Gavin Newsom and President Donald Trump both outlined frameworks and guidelines for reopening normal operations of daily life in California and the U.S.

Newsom Administration Identifies Six Criteria for Modifying Stay-at-Home Order

On Tuesday, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled a series of indicators and considerations that will guide California’s actions for when and how to modify the statewide stay-at-home order amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During Tuesday’s noon press conference, Governor Newsom discussed the unsustainable nature of the current arrangement, particularly its impact on the state’s economy, individual and family household budgets, and the deferral of certain health services. Newsom reiterated the importance of remaining grounded in science and data and not politics in determining necessary modifications to public health orders.

Until immunity is built, the Administration outlined its overarching priorities to:

  • Ensure the ability to care for the sick in hospitals
  • Prevent infection in people who are at high risk for severe disease
  • Build capacity to protect the health and wellbeing of the public
  • Reduce social, emotional, and economic disruptions

To this end, the Administration identified six indicators and associated questions for modifying California’s stay-at-home order, including:

  • The ability to monitor and protect our communities through testing, contact tracing, isolating, and supporting individuals who are positive or exposed
  • The ability to prevent infection in people who are at risk for more severe COVID-19
  • The ability of the hospital and health systems to handle surges
  • The ability to develop therapeutics to meet demand
  • The ability for businesses, schools, and childcare facilities to support physical distancing
  • The ability to determine when to reinstitute certain measures, including stay-at-home orders, if necessary

While the Administration did not provide a specific timeline for modifying or lifting its order, Governor Newsom indicated a conversation regarding the order may be able to occur in two weeks if California has realized a decrease in hospitalizations and ICU admissions, adequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), and the development of infrastructure and workforce for contact tracing/tracking. Furthermore, Newsom indicated Californians will need to make modifications to daily routines and spaces, including reduced capacities in restaurants, businesses, and classrooms.

CSAC, in responding to the Newsom Administration’s framework, expressed the importance of local governments in determining when and how to return the state to normalcy and highlighted ongoing resource needs of local health departments. CSAC noted, “County public health departments are the front-line responders to COVID-19 and need immediate funding to maintain operations, hire communicable disease investigators, and handle the lasting ramifications of this pandemic. … Local public health departments are experts in communicable disease testing, tracing and isolation and should remain the lead role for tracking COVID-19 recovery data as they have the experience and appropriate training to follow the law, guidelines, and accreditation requirements.”

The full announcement from the Newsom Administration is available here.

Trump Administration Details Phased, State-Based Approach to Reopening

On Thursday, President Donald Trump unveiled guidelines for a phased approach to reopening major components of U.S. society. In an 18-page document, the Trump Administration suggests three phases for states to reopen with progressively relaxed levels of social distancing at each phase. For jurisdictions to advance through the phases, a 14-day period of a “downward trajectory” of cases would need to be realized. The overall framework detailed by the Trump Administration stresses the use of up-to-date data, mitigation of resurgence risk, protection of vulnerable individuals, and ability for activities to be implementable on a statewide or county-by-county basis at governors’ discretion. Furthermore, President Trump, in a call with U.S. governors on Thursday, indicated that governors will be in charge of determining when and how to lift restrictions on stay-at-home and social distancing orders.

The Trump Administration’s full guidelines are available here.