Newsom clearly hasn’t learned anything from his failed, flimsy COVID policies – Orange County Register

Gov. Gavin Newsom wears a protective mask on his face while speaking to reporters at Miss Ollie’s restaurant during the coronavirus outbreak in Oakland, Calif., Tuesday, June 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, Pool)

Apparently we’re all geniuses now.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared it so this week when he told Meet the Press’ Chuck Todd that he would have done “everything differently” in his heavy-handed handling of COVID.

“I think there’s a lot of humility. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. It was hardly ‘I,’ it was ‘we,’ collectively. All of us, in terms of our collective wisdom, we’ve evolved. We didn’t know what we didn’t know. We’re experts in hindsight. We’re all geniuses now,” Newsom babbled.

In typical Newsom fashion, he said a lot while saying very little. Did he really mean “everything?” Surely, he thought he did something right.


After all, we endured endless boasts of trusting science and saving lives. “Throughout the pandemic, Governor Newsom, the Legislature and state agencies have been guided by the science and data to best protect Californians and save lives,” Newsom’s office said in a press release announcing the end of the state of emergency.

So is that not true? Lives weren’t saved? His actions were meaningless?

It’s hard to know because Newsom Speak, or what Orwell fans might call Newspeak, is basically just silence-stuffing with enough room to dodge accountability.

Todd pressed Newsom for specifics. With a sweeping statement, surely he can think of at least one thing he would have done differently in a sea of “everything.”

To make it easy on Newsom, Todd asked if Newsom thought he should have pushed for open schools, maybe by holding classes outside, but Newsom swept it aside.

You see, Chuck Todd, Newsom would have done everything differently, but nothing in particular. Can’t we get back to asking Newsom about his presidential ambitions already?

Newsom elaborated slightly on what he meant by “we didn’t know what we didn’t know.” Apparently, according to Newsom, we didn’t know there was much of a difference between the spread of COVID indoors versus outdoors. And we didn’t know that his masking policies were ineffective.

Except we knew both of those things.

In May of 2020, six weeks after Newsom issued the stay at home order, I wrote: “Speaking of data and science, the prevailing opinion among public health experts is that the risk of infection decreases significantly outdoors.”

At the time I was writing about Newsom’s boneheaded idea to shut down Orange County’s beaches for a weekend. This made no scientific sense at the time and was purely to nurse a political grudge and inoculate the governor from negative press from the state’s hypochondriacs.

It’s nice Newsom feels he finally learned the difference between indoor and outdoor transmission, but he could have Googled this years ago.

The limits in the effectiveness of masking were known as well. In 2020, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s top advisor on COVID, said store bought masks were “not really effective” and that there was no reason to walk around with a mask.

Of course, Fauci’s tune changed with public pressure. But an astute policy maker should have been able to recognize that the state’s masking policies weren’t entirely sensible.

It would have been nice to see Todd ask Newsom about his Administration’s decision very early on to require eldercare facilities to accept COVID-positive residents.

Though this decision has largely been memory-holed, it actually contributed to the deaths of many seniors in California. In fact, in May of 2020, state data showed that 41 percent of all of the state’s COVID deaths had occurred among residents and staff, as reported by the San Jose Mercury News.

“Gov. Gavin Newsom is recklessly pushing to place more coronavirus patients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities while COVID-19 cases and deaths are mounting rapidly in California’s care residences for the elderly,” the Mercury News Editorial Board wrote.

“We can’t keep letting our housing for the aged turn into death traps,” the Editorial Board continued.

It was always obvious that COVID disproportionately affected the elderly and those with comorbidities and it didn’t take a genius at the time to recognize the absurdity of this decision.

A similar tragedy played out in the state’s prisons, when the Newsom Administration transferred COVID-infected prisoners around the system and fueled an outbreak. This was done apparently over the objections of prison healthcare staff and led to dozens of deaths, according to The Guardian.

Don’t forget that as public schools were shut down, Newsom was sending his kids in person to private school. And when most of the state was suffering mask mandates and business closures, Newsom was having a fancy, maskless indoor dinner with lobbyists at the French Laundry.

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