AP Interview: Newsom admits mistakes in 1st reopening Joe Biden Democratic Donald Trump Gavin Newsom Sacramento


California Gov. Gavin Newsom acknowledged mistakes in communicating with the public last year before the first loosening of coronavirus restrictions led to an early summer spike in cases, a harsh lesson “that we reflect upon all the time” as the nation’s most populous state again embarks on a broad reopening.

The Democratic governor also said he expects to soon expand the list of people eligible for vaccinations and asserted he was right to call the organizers of a recall effort against him partisan extremists.

Newsom spoke to The Associated Press on Thursday, a day before the one-year anniversary of his first-in-the-nation stay-at-home order that required California’s nearly 40 million people to lock down except for essential work. The state has recorded more than 3.5 million virus cases and nearly 56,000 deaths, both the largest totals in the country.

California’s initial order lasted about seven weeks before Newsom began loosening the rules as the state avoided a huge surge in cases. What began as limited reopenings quickly snowballed, with counties given the go ahead to allow restaurant dining, church services and other indoor activities and businesses. Even bars were given the go-ahead by mid-June, around the time Newsom imposed a mask mandate.

“We were communicating with counties and businesses and sectors and industries, not with the public, what that modification meant and what it didn’t mean,” he said. “And in hindsight, clearly, we could have done a much better job by informing the public what those modifications meant.”


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