The Golden Age of Transmission

California becomes the first state to improve to the CDC’s level of ‘moderate’ COVID-19 transmission, but quickly returns to ‘substantial.’

By Edward Segal, Staff Writer

California reached the 'moderate' tier in the CDC's ranking of COVID-19 transmission; however, it was short lived. (Graphic by Vickie Guzman/The Valley Star)

The Golden State’s reign atop the nation’s leaderboard of lowest COVID-19 transmission was short-lived, as California failed to stay in the CDC’s level of ‘moderate’ for long.


After becoming the first state to improve to the CDC’s level of ‘moderate’ transmission on Oct. 18, California fell back to ‘substantial’ within a day. The CDC’s system of classifying COVID-19 transmission has four tiers: low, moderate, substantial, and high. Each state is placed in a tier based on their total new cases per 100,000 people. The most populous state still has the lowest COVID-19 case rate in the U.S. with 69.5 cases per 100,000, according to the CDC., a remarkable feat after having the highest transmission rates at the start of the pandemic.


Governor Gavin Newsom spoke about this progress at an East Bay health clinic, stressing the necessity for each county to do its part in fighting the virus. “Any state vision has to be realized at the local level,” said Gov. Newsom, expressing his gratitude to the mayor and officials of Alameda County for putting in the work to lower transmission levels.


In southern California, five counties have improved from ‘high’ to ‘substantial,’ those being Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernandino and Los Angeles.


Of about 40 million people in California, 24.2 million are vaccinated, with an additional 2.67 million being partially vaccinated. That’s 61.1 percent of people in California who are fully vaccinated, with another 13 percent who have received one dose, according to USA Facts. About 4.65 million cases have been confirmed in California, with about 71,500 deaths, according to the tracker of COVID-19 cases in the state.


Governor Gavin Newsom issued his first stay-at-home order on March 19, but California proved difficult to regulate.


Staying home is difficult for Californians who don’t have a stable source of income, and the people who were forced to do so are the people who needed jobs most according to Dr. Sunny Jha, an anesthesiologist and co-organizer of an LA ‘surge clinic’ where non-patients with COVID-19 can receive care.


“The cost of living, among numerous other socioeconomic factors, in California is exorbitantly prohibitive for folks with blue-collar jobs,” said Dr. Jha. These people “cannot protect themselves adequately due to the nature of their work and their living conditions.”


Los Angeles County was the first in the nation to report more than 100,000 diagnosed cases at the end of June 2020, according to a timeline published on ABC. For a while California remained the worst state in COVID-19 transmission. On July 22, 2020, California passed New York with over 400,000 cases.


Finally, on Dec. 10, the FDA approved emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine, starting the recovery process. In as little as four months on April 27, California reached a case rate of 32.5 per 100,000, the lowest in the nation according to Calmatters.


Many pieces of legislation made this happen, such as the requirement issued on Sept. 26 in San Francisco requiring all airport workers to be vaccinated, and the strict indoor vaccine mandate issued by Los Angeles City Council on Oct. 6 requiring many establishments to ask people to show proof of vaccination upon entry.


California continues to linger at the edge of ‘substantial.’

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