California 1st state to debut plan that treats COVID-19 as endemic

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Feb. 18 unveiled the next phase of its COVID-19 pandemic response plan, saying it's the first state to detail plans for how to approach the virus as a manageable risk. 

"We are moving past the crisis phase into a phase where we will work to live with this virus," Mr. Newsom said at a news conference. 

Four details: 

1. The plan is called SMARTER, which stands for shots, masks, awareness, readiness, testing, education and Rx treatments. 

2. The plan shifts focus from a crisis mode to one that prioritizes prevention and flexibility to stay ahead of future surges and variants. It involves shoring up wastewater surveillance to monitor virus levels and early identification of potential new variants. 

3. California will maintain capacity to administer at least 200,000 vaccines per day under the new plan, maintain a stockpile of 75 million high-quality masks and have the ability to perform at least 500,000 tests per day. 

4. As part of the "readiness" pillar of the plan, the state will have the ability to deploy 3,000 clinical staff across healthcare facilities within two to three weeks of need. 

"California's SMARTER plan should represent a turning point in managing the pandemic from taking whatever the virus brings us to being prepared to manage whatever challenges come next," said Andy Slavitt, the Biden Administration's former senior COVID-19 response adviser, adding that the plan serves as a national model for other states.

 

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