California Gavin Newsom announced Saturday afternoon that he has been diagnosed with COVID-19 — just a day after meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to discuss a partnership to combat climate change.
On Saturday, Newsom’s office issued a statement saying, “This morning, the Governor tested positive for COVID-19 after exhibiting mild symptoms. The Governor will continue to work remotely.” Critics were quick to remark on the irony that the infection came right after meeting with Ardern in San Francisco on Friday. Under Ardern, New Zealand had strict COVID-19 measures, while California had some of the toughest guidelines in the United States under Newsom.
To that extent, Richard Grenell, former National Security Advisor to President Trump, tweeted Saturday evening, “The King and Queen of lockdowns,” in reaction to the news about Newsom.
The King and Queen of lockdowns. https://t.co/95PL52oT8K
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) May 29, 2022
Ardern had been strict with COVID-19 rules since early on in the pandemic, and continued those measures for quite some time. For example, in August 2021, CNBC reported, “All of New Zealand will be in lockdown for three days from Wednesday while Auckland and Coromandel, a coastal town that the infected person had also spent time in, will be in lockdown for seven days.”
That was the first case in six months on the island at the time, but Ardern insisted on moving swiftly to stop the spread of the virus.
“The best thing we can do to get out of this as quickly as we can is to go hard,” Ardern said at the time. “We have made the decision on the basis that it is better to start high and go down levels rather than to go low, not contain the virus and see it move quickly.”
In California, evidence indicates that Newsom’s state-imposed health precautions wreaked havoc on small businesses.
In May 2021, The Daily Wire reported, that California’s “lockdowns have left the food industry battered and bruised in the Golden State. Prior to the pandemic, up to 76,000 eating and drinking establishments employed up to 1.8 million people. Those numbers dropped precipitously as the lockdowns continued throughout 2020 and into 2021. Though the state has eased restrictions over the past few weeks, about two-third of the industry’s employees lost their jobs at least temporarily and employment remains a quarter below what had existed prior to the pandemic.”
Newsom’s policies were so unpopular that his political opponents were able to force a recall election of the governor.
He survived that election, but even The New York Times recognized that Newsom’s unpopularity stemmed in part from his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“California was one of the earliest states to go into lockdown last spring, and it is now emerging from a second lockdown, which started in December,” the Times wrote in February 2021.”That stop-start-stop has created a groundswell of anger toward Mr. Newsom, a Democrat in the third year of his first term, that is increasingly fueling a movement to recall him from office in one of the bluest of blue states.”
Newsom’s office stated on Saturday that the governor will be following the state’s “SMARTER Plan, which focuses on testing and treatment, the Governor will test prior to leaving isolation. The Governor has also received a prescription for Paxlovid, the antiviral that has been proven effective against COVID-19, and will begin his 5-day regimen immediately.”
“Governor Newsom is vaccinated and has received two booster shots, including as recently as May 18,” the office added.