During an Instagram livestream Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom praised Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia for the speed and efficacy of the city’s vaccine rollout process.
Newsom congratulated Garcia for leading the state in handling the virus, particularly with vaccination, and asked him why he feels Long Beach is “outperforming” other regions in California.
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Garcia maintained that he took the governor’s advice of “getting the vaccines out fast and getting them in arms quickly” when distributing the coronavirus vaccine in Long Beach.
Arguing that Long Beach has “one of the best vaccine rollouts anywhere in the state of California,” Garcia said he knew it was important to prioritize residents aged 65 and older, food workers and teachers to work toward reopening the community.
“It’s a direct communication with the schools and also working with the public, letting them know that getting our school campuses open is good for everyone and for our economy,” Garcia said. “So it’s been a critical piece of what we’re doing.”
Newsom said that Garcia appears to have a “mindset of abundance” for vaccinating as many residents of Long Beach rather than the “increasingly growing mindset of scarcity and concern” held by leaders in other cities and counties.
“Supply is federal and then that distribution map, obviously, comes from the state,” Newsom said.
This, he said, raises some concerns about whether Garcia should “slow down a little bit” so as not run out of vaccines.
“We can’t be holding onto supply for weeks on end, and that’s happened in some parts of the state and country,” Garcia said. “If we get through all of our vaccines in a day or two, that means that we’ve done a good job vaccinating those folks and we’re not just sitting and sitting on supply. I think it’s a good problem to have.”
He explained the city’s vaccination program called VaxLB, which allows residents to make appointments and receive notifications regarding availability. Los Angeles is among one of the few California cities testing out a different vaccination program called My Turn as part of the state’s Department of Public Health.
As coronavirus cases continue to rise, several variants across the world are spreading as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the three quickest spreading variants are the B.1.1.7 from the U.K., the 1.351 strain from South Africa and the P.1 strain from Brazil.
California currently has 90 cases caused by variants, as of Jan. 25, according to CDC data.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical advisor to the president, said Tuesday that he encourages the public to wear two masks as “double-masking” as a preventative measure against these new variants.
“This is a physical covering to prevent droplets and virus to get in. So if you have a physical covering with one layer, you put another layer on, it just makes common sense that it likely would be more effective,” Fauci said.