What the end of the COVID-19 emergency means for Sacramento


By Shuxuan Zhong

SACRAMENTO, CA – The total number of COVID cases in the Sacramento area since COVID-19 began was 407,166, with 3,719 deaths. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation on February 28, 2023, terminating the state’s state of emergency for the new crown pneumonia. 


This decision is based on the impact of the epidemic on various aspects of California. Firstly, compared to other states, California has the lowest death rate in the country. As an example, if California had Texas’s death rate, there would be 27,000 more deaths. California has administered more than 88 million vaccines, equivalent to nearly 73 percent of the state’s population being vaccinated. Secondly, California’s unemployment rate has fallen nearly twice as fast as other states during the pandemic.


The Sacramento Bee consulted spokeswoman Samantha Mott with the Sacramento County’s Department of Health Services, and Mott claimed that “COVID-19 will not go away on February 28 when the local public health emergency declaration ends.” The government’s approach to the pandemic has changed, and people’s lives will not be greatly affected.


“California has the tools needed to continue fighting COVID-19 when the State of Emergency terminates at the end of February,” Newsom’s administration wrote in an October statement, “including vaccines and boosters, testing, treatments and other mitigation measures like masking and indoor ventilation.”


Blumberg, a California infectious disease expert, released this statement about the impact of COVID-19: “At this point in the pandemic, most people have some sort of immunity to COVID from vaccination or infection — or both. The risk of severe disease is less at this point, but it’s not zero. COVID is becoming more like influenza, or flu. Most people who are not at high risk will be inconvenienced if infected, but the risk of hospitalization or death is low. Of course, remember that 12,000 to 52,000 influenza deaths occur in the U.S. every year, so vaccination for both COVID and flu remains important.”


He supports that COVID will not disappear, by claiming “I think COVID is going to remain with us and become a seasonal virus, kind of like influenza is. We’re going to see waves every winter. We’re going to have a COVID season… For example, during the summer — unless we do get some concerned new variants and hopefully with more widespread immunity within our communities due to vaccination and previous infection — it won’t result in an overwhelming number of hospital admissions or deaths anymore.” 


According to previous Sacramento Bee reports, California will follow the “SMARTER” plan the state announced in February 2021. It follows the seven letters in the word “smarter:” S for shots, M for masks, A for awareness, R for readiness, T for testing, E for education, and R for Rx treatment. The SMARTER program will drive the state’s recovery, and the plan’s emphasis on continued preparedness, awareness, and flexibility will ensure that California can continue to focus on communities that are disproportionately impacted, and remain ready to respond quickly and effectively to emerging COVID-19 variants and changing conditions.


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