Just a few months ago, California was being held up as a a good example for how to fight coronavirus infections when on March 15th Gov. Newsom issued the first statewide stay-at-home order and shutdown of non-essential businesses. At the time, many thought the order was over the top and unnecessary, but politicans and health experts said it was the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, in New York, as infection rates increased, they were slow to enact a stay-at-home order. Experts say because they delayed even just a few days, it allowed the virus to spread "exponentially" and hospitals became overwhelmed. For awhile it seemed that New York wouldn't get a handle on the virus.
In California, fears that hospitals would become overwhelmed never materialized. In fact, things were going so well and the public was so critical of businesses being shut down for a prolonged period of time,that the state ventured into re-opening and as a result, infection rates increased, more than doubling in one month, causing Gov. Newsom to issue a new shutdown order on July 7th.
By July 22nd, California became the leader, with the most coronavirus cases in the country over the course of the pandemic. On August 9th, California's public health director resigned, without explaining why and health experts are saying California may not really see the worst of coronavirus until the fall.
Meanwhile, New York has seen their daily infection rate decrease by 90% since April. If you travel to New York from California, New York is requiring you to quarantine for 14 days after arrival, and some experts are saying right now New York is probably the safest place to be when it comes to having the virus.
So...what is California doing wrong? Did we re-open too fast? Are we not following public safety rules?
According to the Mercury News,
"Infectious disease experts cite a number of things that influenced the states' outbreak trajectories, from the way state leaders managed reopenings to public compliance with health orders, different immunity levels and viral strains and even just plain luck."
Experts say California has not implemented safety guidelines as well as New York has and some believe that the relaxed nature of the average Californian is to blame. During re-opening for example, we saw crowds form in newly opened restaurants and bars, with many people not wearing masks, something you have not seen happen in New York.
Others say the reason is more simple, more people in New York now have antibodies from exposure to the virus, and that kind of immunity is hugely helpful in controlling the virus and avoiding a 'superspreader' event.