California pulling ’emergency brake’ to slow record surge of COVID cases

California is pulling the “emergency brake” and tightening restrictions for 94 percent of the state’s residents amid a record-breaking increase in coronavirus cases.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday said 41 of the state’s 58 counties will be put into the most restrictive “purple” tier because of widespread virus transmission, effective tomorrow. This means indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters and houses of worship will be closed.

Counties will be reassessed multiple times during the course of a week, and they will be unable to move forward until the numbers improve and the state deems it safe. Newsom said the state will no longer wait until each Tuesday to impose new restrictions on counties.

Daily cases have doubled in the state over the last 10 days, the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

The state’s positivity rate over the past seven days is 4.6 percent. While much lower than the national average, Newsom said that rate is far too high. Just two weeks ago, the state’s positivity rate was 3.2 percent.

If left unchecked, Newsom said the spread could quickly overwhelm the state’s health care system and lead to “catastrophic outcomes.”