California’s Gov. Gavin Newsom ended his dramatic Thursday press conference announcing a statewide order for residents to stay at home in an attempt to fight the spread of COVID-19, with an acknowledgement of the growing number of attacks on Asian Americans.
He said that he came from an area in the state where “anti-Chinese bigotry led to the Chinese Exclusion Act, a black eye in the history of the United States of America…
“One thing I also want to express: The deep, deep recognition of the xenophobia, racism being perpetuated against Asians in our state. We’ve seen a huge increase of people assaulting people on the basis of where they were born and how they look.
“We’re better than that. We’re watching (for) that and we’re going to enforce that more aggressively. I hope that people put down their bigotry, their bias. In a state where 27% of us are foreign born, a state that is truly universal, the most diverse state, the world’s most diverse democracy, that in order to meet this moment, we have to recognize our common humanity.”
His remarks concluded an announcement urging everyone in the state of 40 million people to stay at home. If nothing were to be done, Newsom predicted that in a worst case scenario, 56% of the state, or about 25 million people, will contract the virus.
Newsom hopes the strategy will slow down the exponentially increasing rate of the virus’ spread. “We want to flatten the curve,” he said.
In a follow-up announcement Friday, the governor announced the purchase of two hospitals that were having financial difficulty, including Seton Medical Center that was scheduled to go into bankruptcy within weeks. Seton is the largest employer and major medical facility in Daly City, a predominantly Asian American municipality.
The state’s purchase of the two hospitals, including the recently shuttered St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles County, would add about 700 beds for the expected surge of coronavirus patients. The state, said Newsom, is also looking into converting hotels and college dormitories into places where those with the virus could be placed in quarantine and monitored by medical professionals.
Also Friday, the state’s lawmakers passed measures giving the state broad authority to spend up to $1 billion “for any purpose” so that California can implement the drastic measures in Newsom’s declaration of the coronavirus emergency.
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