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Newsom announces new strategy for winding down pandemic

A COVID warning sign in San Jose
Travis Wise
Flickr / Creative Commons
A COVID warning sign in San Jose

California’s SMARTER plan for dealing with the COVID pandemic is intended to less restrictive than the approach in the past, but it still relies primarily on vaccines and masking, as needed, if future surges of the virus occur.

Governor Newsom told a press conference in San Bernardino Thursday that:“We are more capable to understand the nature of this disease, and we recognize with humility that we don’t know what we don’t know. But we have never been more prepared for that future. It is in that spirit of optimism that we now move into a new phase.”

According to the state’s website, the new plan emphasizes continued awareness and flexibility, allowing the state to respond more effectively to communities suffering disproportionately from the virus.

The San Francisco Chronicle reportedthat California is the first large state to release a long-term COVID strategy, as pressure mounts on federal, state and local leaders to ease away from treating the pandemic as a public health crisis and lean toward a less aggressive and more sustainable approach.

The state ended its mandatory indoor masking mandate last week. But the mandate remains in effect for California’s K-12 schools at least through the end of the month.

The state dropped most of its pandemic restrictions last June, but a massive surge in the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus forced the government to reinstate them a few months later.