By Morgan Kuriger

Did Governor Newsom’s approach to COVID-19 backfire?

Californians are exhausted from trying to keep up with endless restrictions surrounding COVID-19.

This all started when millions were sent home on March 19, 2020 when Governor Gavin Newsom issued stay at home orders, sending millions of Californians home. At this time, Americans had little information on the coronavirus, only that it was spreading fast. But as time continued and more information was released, Newsom lifted these restrictions only to have this taste of freedom taken away.  

These previous events left millions of Americans restless during the 2020 holiday season. Americans were tired of the virus, political disparity and endless rules. America needed a holiday break. Although holiday travel was decreased this season, many still sought out a bit of vacation from COVID-19 and its effects. Americans were eager to see family and friends, and perhaps find a break from the wild year of 2020. 

The increase in holiday travel caused a spike in COVID-19 cases, and Dec. 2020 saw a new set of stay at home orders in California. This new stay at home order saw fewer restrictions than the first; however, companies and citizens were tired of the back and forth. The new stay-at-home order didn’t last long and was lifted on Jan. 25. 

When choosing to lock down the state and have continuous regulations throughout the pandemic, Newsom consistently disregarded science as humans are innately social creatures.

“Neuroscientists do agree: humans and their brains and minds are shaped, and normally function, in continuous interaction with other people,” according to neuroscientist, Ritta Hari.

This disregard for the need for human interaction created lonely citizens. Loneliness leads to compromised immune systems, depression, insomnia, poor digestion and more. 

Newsom should have considered that millions would be left trapped completely alone, and even if they were had others with them, it would not be enough to sustain the human mind. It was inevitable that citizens would begin fighting to no longer be in lockdown; it’s part of nature.

The January lockdown did not succeed because Newsom also forgot to consider American culture. American citizens value independence and focus on individual needs and thoughts. They’re said to lack an interdependency found in other cultures. 

Asking an entire state to stay home for months to keep others safe will not convince every American. At some point, citizens began to realize the impact these regulations had on their personal lives and began to feel that their liberties were being threatened.  

Newsom also seemed to ignore his own regulations multiple times, leading some Californians to question how serious the situation really was, or felt that he did not care about their lives and simply wanted to enjoy his own life. Newsom shut down most businesses throughout the state, but managed to keep his own winery open. He ignored Californian’s feelings and livelihoods; this was a mistake. 

When the second stay-at-home orders were issued in January, many Californian businesses and citizens ignored them. One coffee shop in San Diego County, The Koffie Co., took a stand. 

Following Governor Newsom’s second shut down in December, Koffie decided to stay open, with the owner posting an IGTV video on Instagram explaining his stance. The owner explained his frustrations with the regulations stating, “ We’re so tired of being told one thing and then being shown something completely different.” 

He goes on to explain how the first shut down almost killed their business, “Because of that, we almost lost our business, because we did what they were requiring us to do. And what were we met with? More demands.”  Many local restaurants in San Diego followed suit and stayed open, with many locals frequenting. 

Had Newsom approached the situation differently from the beginning, perhaps California citizens would have been more willing to take the situation seriously. But his seemingly blatant disregard for thought and strategy left many Californians feeling unheard and ignored. They were left to fend for themselves during a global pandemic and failing economy. The governor did not suffer and enjoyed a fairly regular and comfortable lifestyle whilst asking Californians to sacrifice their own lifestyles, income, and health. The people were over the hypocrisy and insanity, they rebelled as a result.