Dr. Bill Honigman, California state coordinator for Progressive Democrats of America and co-coordinator of its Healthcare Human Right Issue Organizing Team, joined Radio Sputnik’s Political Misfits to talk about how lack of support from the US government has played a role in California becoming the state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases.
The latest data by Worldometer shows that nearly 443,000 total cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in California, the new epicenter of the pandemic in the US. The state recorded its highest-ever daily COVID-19 death tolls on Thursday and Friday, with 157 and 159 COVID-19 fatalities, respectively.
During a coronavirus briefing on Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom also revealed that state hospitals are experiencing an 11% increase per day in admissions to their intensive care units.
“California is [the] largest, most populated state in the union, so therefore you might expect us to have more cases overall … But we did have a resurgence of the disease, and what most people say is the first wave still, not a second wave. And that was – I think, most of us agree – due to a lot of premature reopening of businesses and kind of congregate social situations, and people thought it was OK to go out to bars and restaurants and that kind of thing really prematurely. And so we’re not immune to that bad advice that comes mostly from the federal government,” Honigman told Political Misfits hosts Michelle Witte and Bob Schlehuber on Friday.
“The state government has tried to, here in California, to interject some rationality there, but we did fail, so we had like a second peak in the first wave, kind of thing,” Honigman added. However, hospitals continue to see new patients coming in. He noted there isn’t much support from the federal government to ensure that people stay at home and don’t have to go to work.
“When you don’t have support from the federal government or even the state government to be off work and we don’t have mandatory sick leave in so many work environments, then people are going to go back to work. And young people, especially, are going to go back to work in the so-called essential jobs or sacrificial jobs. In this case, they’re going to go to some kind of work because they need that income to survive, and economists are predicting, of course, a massive rent crisis and food crisis at this point as a result of the economy. It’s really only the federal government that can step in with resources,” Honigman added.
During the Friday briefing, Newsom urged employers to permit workers who feel sick to take time off to quarantine and said he would also urge state legislators to increase paid sick leave and workers’ compensation for laborers at increased risk of contracting COVID-19.
“We’re going to be doing some more strategic enforcement of our labor laws, in the spirit of an open hand, not an open fist,” Newsom noted.
“This pandemic is making it so obvious that we can’t afford to fund our military to such an extreme at this point. If war is an existential threat – and I think it is – if climate is an existential threat, if pandemics are, if poverty is, then we need to fund all of those things, not just the war machine. So, it’s pretty clear,” Honigman continued.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.