As Gavin Newsom Continues His One-Man Rule, He Uses COVID Testing as an Excuse to Grift for More Cash

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Governor Gavin Newsom is tripling down on his statewide COVID policy, using the Omicron variant and fears of “Flurona” as an excuse to get more of those federal dollars.

From The Los Angeles Times:

California would spend $2.7 billion on new efforts to respond to the surge in COVID-19 cases, including additional testing capacity and assistance to hospitals, under a budget proposal Gov. Gavin Newsom will send to state lawmakers next week.

Newsom will also ask legislators to help craft new COVID sick pay rules for Californians, modeled after the policy that expired last fall, requiring businesses with 26 or more workers to offer up to two weeks of supplemental paid sick leave for employees to care for themselves or a family member.

This type of legislation forcing businesses to alter their business models to accommodate COVID-19 payouts to employees went over so well last time. The result? Less hiring by these businesses, and some of them pulling out of California cities altogether. When Los Angeles and Long Beach decided to vote for extra hazard pay for grocery workers, Grocery store chain Kroger’s response? Close some low-performing stores in the area. With this new testing and misinformation push, Newsom continues on his campaign to kill business in California, one COVID diktat at a time.

“Our proposed COVID-19 Emergency Response Package will support our testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers and health care systems and battle misinformation,” Newsom said in a written statement Saturday.

Basically, Newsom is following Dementia Joe, the CDC’s and Lord Fauci’s so-called plans to ramp up testing. Vanity Fair did an expose on how the federal government rejected a plan for rapid-at-home COVID-19 testing, which would have mitigated some of the surge associated with the Delta and Omicron variants.

The 10-page plan, which Vanity Fair has obtained, would enable the U.S. to finally do what many other countries had already done: Put rapid at-home COVID-19 testing into the hands of average citizens, allowing them to screen themselves in real time and thereby help reduce transmission. The plan called for an estimated 732 million tests per month, a number that would require a major ramp-up of manufacturing capacity. It also recommended, right on the first page, a nationwide “Testing Surge to Prevent Holiday COVID Surge.”

The antigen tests at the center of the plan can detect the virus when patients are at their most contagious. Though less sensitive than polymerase chain reaction (PCR) laboratory tests, which can detect the virus’s genetic material at any stage of infection, antigen tests provide a quick snapshot in time for those seeking assurance that they are safe to travel or won’t accidentally infect vulnerable relatives.

The problem with this? The federal government doesn’t have control of the numbers they use to ramp up fear and hysteria. If they have no control over people self-testing but not reporting, then they have no control over people’s behavior—and they really want control of that.

The plan, in effect, was a blueprint for how to avoid what is happening at this very moment—endless lines of desperate Americans clamoring for tests in order to safeguard holiday gatherings, just as COVID-19 is exploding again. Yesterday, President Biden told David Muir of ABC News, “I wish I had thought about ordering” 500 million at-home tests “two months ago.” But the proposal shared at the meeting in October, disclosed here for the first time, included a “Bold Plan for Impact” and a provision for “Every American Household to Receive Free Rapid Tests for the Holidays/New Year.”

Three days after the meeting, on October 25, the COVID-19 testing experts—who hailed from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the Rockefeller Foundation, the COVID Collaborative, and several other organizations—received a back channel communication from a White House official. Their big, bold idea for free home tests for all Americans to avoid a holiday surge, they were told, was dead. That day, the administration instead announced an initiative to move rapid home tests more swiftly through the FDA’s regulatory approval process.

In Newsom’s COVID testing package, there is nothing about at-home testing, allowing people to self-quarantine, or acknowledging natural immunity. It is following the same federal party line, and throwing more money at a system that has already exhibited failure.

From the Office of the Governor’s website:

The package includes a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request to immediately equip California’s health care system with supplies and staffing to battle the current surge. Governor Newsom’s package will ramp up vaccines, boosters, statewide testing, and increase medical personnel. The package continues CA’s focus on supporting the public health by improving accessibility, equity, timeliness and sustainability of COVID-19 efforts.

The only reason Hair Gel is able to continue down this path is because he refuses to relinquish his emergency powers. Newsom still has California under a state of emergency, and has effectively neutered the California Legislature. So, it doesn’t matter if the rest of the nation is coming to terms with COVID-19 being endemic, as Colorado Governor Jared Polis has said, as long as there is money to be had, Newsom will maintain his pandemic forever stance.

This is why he chose to reinstitute a statewide mask mandate until January 15, then extended it until February 15. Yes, Omicron cases have spiked; but as my colleague Scott Hounsell has pointed out, the case rate and hospitalizations are actually lower than they were in August of 2020, but Newsom was facing a Recall election and didn’t want to do anything that could hurt his chances of keeping his office.

Now he has nothing to worry about—or so he thinks.

The definition of insanity: do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. Hair Gel has already proven his bent toward delusional thinking. Yet, he plows forward, with a Legislature that continues to enable him.

Advisors to Newsom said Saturday the governor will ask the Legislature to take quick action on authorizing the first $1.4 billion of the new pandemic response package when he sends his annual state spending plan to the Legislature on Monday. Most of the early funding would go to expand testing programs, with the remaining portion spent on virus response efforts inside California prisons.

The exodus, and signaled exodus happening in California’s governing body portends two things: 1) the members will go along with whatever Newsom wants, because they have one foot out the door, or; 2) they will stand against this push for more COVID cash because they have something to prove or nothing to lose.

Last week alone, the Capitol bid farewell to progressive powerhouse Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego, who departed the Assembly to take the top job at the California Labor Federation. Then came back-to-back announcements from Democratic Sen. Connie Leyva of Chino and Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell of Long Beach, who both said they would not be seeking reelection despite having four years left to serve under the state’s term limit law. Then, on Thursday, Republican Assemblymember Kevin Kiley of Rocklin, who ran in the 2021 gubernatorial recall, announced that he would be running for Congress.

And today, former Assembly Republican leader Chad Mayes of Rancho Mirage, now the only independent in the Legislatureannounced he’s not running again. “I have seen first-hand the dangers of partisan politics.  Blind faith to political teams has created a toxic tribalism that is tearing families, friendships, communities and this country apart,” he tweeted.

Even though Assemblymen Kevin Kiley (R-RockStar) is one of those on his way out the door, we can rely on him to oppose this continued overreach. The rest of the Legislature will probably roll over like the lapdogs they are and let Newsom have his way.

Counties, and Californians who are sick of the insanity have chosen to focus on getting on with their lives, as Assemblyman Kiley explained to KUSI News.