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Gavin Newsom warns California could turn into Florida or Texas on COVID if recall succeeds

Gavin Newsom warns California could turn into Florida or Texas on COVID if recall succeeds

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Gov. Gavin Newsom compared California's COVID-19 rates to much higher ones in states with conservative governors Tuesday, warning that he could be replaced in the upcoming recall with a Republican who would make the Golden State's response more like Texas or Florida's.

Newsom pointed to leading recall challenger Larry Elder's assertion that he would end the state's mask and vaccine requirements immediately if he is elected governor.

"His model is Texas and Florida, and Mississippi," Newsom said. "We have among the lowest positivity rates in America. They have the highest positivity rates in America. We have one of the lowest case rates in America. They're among the highest."

Speaking at a health clinic in Oakland, Newsom touted the state's latest vaccination milestone: More than 80% of eligible Californians have gotten at least one COVID-19 shot. That puts California in the top 10 states for vaccinations, he said.

California's COVID test positivity rate of 4.6% is the seventh lowest in the country and a decrease from 7.1% several weeks ago, Newsom said.

In comparison, Texas, Florida and Mississippi all have 7-day positivity rates between 15% and 20%, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, California is seeing a plateau in hospitalizations but a "modest" uptick in intensive care unit patients, Newsom said.

Newsom's comments come as voters face a Sept. 14 deadline to vote in a recall election that will decide if the Democratic governor finishes his first term in office. Ballots have already been mailed to all registered voters and feature two questions: should Newsom be recalled and, if he is recalled, who should replace him? If most voters elect to oust Newsom, the top vote-getter on the second question becomes governor, even if they secure only a small percentage of the vote.

Newsom's campaign has misleadingly said in a recent ad that if he is recalled he will be replaced by an "anti-vax" governor. The leading challengers to replace him all say they've been vaccinated and don't outright oppose vaccinations, but each of them, including the top-polling Democrat, say they would roll back Newsom's statewide vaccine mandates for state, school and health care workers.

In a debate earlier this month, Republican businessman John Cox, who is among the top polling replacement candidates, specifically pointed to Florida's much more lenient COVID-19 policies as a model for what California should be doing.

That, Newsom argues, would set the state back significantly in its fight against the pandemic.

"I hope people pause and just consider the life and death consequences of that decision," Newsom said. "There is no more consequential decision to the health and safety of the people, the state of California, than voting 'no' on this Republican recall."

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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