The United States’ Left Coast governors today made it abundantly clear that they — not Donald Trump — will decide when to lift their Stay Home, Stay Healthy orders and allow businesses that are currently closed to fully reopen.
Washington’s Jay Inslee, Oregon’s Kate Brown, and California’s Gavin Newsom said in a statement provided to the Northwest Progressive Institute that they have decided to form a new alliance called the Western States Pact.
Here is that announcement in its entirety:
Today, Washington Governor Jay Inslee, California Governor Gavin Newsom and Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced an agreement on a shared vision for reopening their economies and controlling COVID-19 into the future.
Joint statement from the governors:
COVID-19 has preyed upon our interconnectedness. In the coming weeks, the West Coast will flip the script on COVID-19 – with our states acting in close coordination and collaboration to ensure the virus can never spread wildly in our communities.
We are announcing that California, Oregon and Washington have agreed to work together on a shared approach for reopening our economies – one that identifies clear indicators for communities to restart public life and business.
While each state is building a state-specific plan, our states have agreed to the following principles as we build out a West Coast framework:
- Our residents’ health comes first. As home to one in six Americans and gateway to the rest of the world, the West Coast has an outsized stake in controlling and ultimately defeating COVID-19.
- Health outcomes and science – not politics — will guide these decisions. Modifications to our states’ stay at home orders must be made based off our understanding of the total health impacts of COVID-19, including: the direct impact of the disease on our communities; the health impact of measures introduced to control the spread in communities —particularly felt by those already experiencing social disadvantage prior to COVID-19; and our health care systems’ ability to ensure care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This effort will be guided by data. We need to see a decline in the rate of spread of the virus before large-scale reopening, and we will be working in coordination to identify the best metrics to guide this.
- Our states will only be effective by working together. Each state will work with it’s local leaders and communities within its borders to understand what’s happening on the ground and adhere to our agreed upon approach.
Through quick and decisive action, each of our states has made significant progress in flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19 among the broader public.
Now, our public health leaders will focus on four goals that will be critical for controlling the virus in the future.
- Protecting vulnerable populations at risk for severe disease if infected. This includes a concerted effort to prevent and fight outbreaks in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.
- Ensuring an ability to care for those who may become sick with COVID-19 and other conditions. This will require adequate hospital surge capacity and supplies of personal protective equipment.
- Mitigating the non-direct COVID-19 health impacts, particularly on disadvantaged communities.
- Protecting the general public by ensuring any successful lifting of interventions includes the development of a system for testing, tracking and isolating. The states will work together to share best practices.
COVID-19 doesn’t follow state or national boundaries. It will take every level of government, working together, and a full picture of what’s happening on the ground.
In the coming days the governors, their staff and health officials will continue conversations about this regional pact to recovery.
Our team at the Northwest Progressive Institute applauds this effort.
It is truly wonderful to see the Left Coast coming together in defense of our American values. The health, safety, and well-being of our people must be our highest priority. We need a strategy for dealing with this pandemic that takes into account our interdependence and interconnectedness.
It’s a relief to see that our region’s governors recognize this.
Something similar is being put together on the other side of the country.
New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Rhode Island have formed a regional advisory council to guide their next moves.
“We cannot act on our own,” said New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.
“We must be smart and tactical in how our region comes out of this, or else we’ll be right back to square one.”
The Western States Pact will need to be further fleshed out, and it sounds like we’ll be hearing more very soon. In the absence of strong and sound leadership at the federal level, this is just what the doctor ordered.
Thank you, Governors, for putting this together and showing what states can do. Let’s be a model for the entire country in these difficult times.