California in Lockdown

Our most populous state has become the first with a blanket "stay home" order to stave off Covid-19.

POLITICO (“Newsom orders all 40M Californians to stay home in nation’s strictest state lockdown“):

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday ordered California’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home, making it the first state to impose that strict mandate on all residents to counteract a looming surge of new infections.
The order takes effect immediately and remains in place “until further notice.” Californians are not allowed to leave home except for essential purposes. They are allowed to purchase groceries, prescriptions and health care, as well as commute to jobs deemed essential.

The governor’s order comes with misdemeanor penalties for anyone who violates the restrictions, though he said he believes social pressure will keep people home rather than law enforcement.

“There’s a social contract here,” Newsom said. “People, I think, recognize the need to do more and meet his moment.”

Newsom said the order has to remain in effect indefinitely. He has repeatedly said the next eight weeks are crucial to bend the curve and stop the rapid contagion. He also said, however, that he does not expect the order to last “many, many months.”

Despite strong guidance to stay home — and enforceable orders in nearly two dozen counties — a small number of people in California are still playing basketball, hanging out together on beaches and congregating in parks.

[…]

The governor said his administration will put out more details on what people can and cannot do in the coming hours and days. He suggested, however, that it will be similar to the Bay Area orders.

“We’re going to keep the grocery stores open,” he said. “We’re going to make sure that you’re getting critical medical supplies. You can still take your kids outside, practicing common sense and social distancing. You can still walk your dog, you can still pick up food at one of our distribution centers, at a restaurant, at a drive-thru — all those things we will still be able to do.”

Obviously, “social pressure” wasn’t working fast enough, making this extreme measure necessary. It’s an inordinate strain on individual liberty but the negative externalities of allowing people to make an independent judgment here are just too high.

FILED UNDER: COVID-19, Health
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. mattbernius says:

    One other unprecedented aspect of this is how it will strain the social services system in CA.

    This is a bit of a repeat of what I posted on a different article today, but it’s worth leaving here as well because it’s on topic. My new org, Code For America, created the platform that serves 2/3 of the people applying for SNAP benefits in California. In just a few days, the number of applications have gone up by 7X percent — see this chart: https://twitter.com/trapeeze22/status/1240731890941702144.

    Even though I’m based in NY and working on Criminal Justice stuff, I’m begin trained to staff the chat support helpline because we’re overwhelmed. And as a researcher, I’m also helping code (basically add themes like “head of house hold” or “mandate effected industry”) to the comments field from the applications. The majority of cases I tagged yesterday were people whose businesses have been shutdown as part of the government mandates to flatten the curve.

    I don’t think anyone is fully able to understand the profound economics impacts of this necessary move.

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  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    It’s an inordinate strain on individual liberty but the negative externalities of allowing people to make an independent judgment here are just too high.

    The same could be said for for drinking and driving but nobody ever complains about that. Well, nobody but the drunks.

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  3. gVOR08 says:

    I caught a few minutes of Cuomo announcing the NYT lockdown. Now Trump’s presser is on. The contrast is incredible. Cuomo went bing, bing, bing; this is what we’re doing, this is why, this is what you need to do, I’m responsible. Trump and his people, except Fauci, are babbling.

    And the minions are all standing shoulder to shoulder behind Trump as they tell us to maintain six feet.

    There was a specific question as to whether the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine is effective as a prophylactic against coronavirus, i.e. will it prevent coronavirus. Fauci answered no, although it may be helpful in treatment. Then Trump contradicted him for five minutes. Then Fauci was stuck trying to diplomatically clarify.

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  4. inhumans99 says:

    @gVOR08:

    And yet President Trump’s approval jumped to 55%…as Americans we really do deserve the President we elected. I am not trying to be funny when I say I almost hope he does easily get re-elected so we can see just how long the GOP is willing to prop up an idiot. I thought they would be exhausted by now…but what do I know?

    I might even vote for him and you may say, well…he does not care because you are in CA and your vote does not count, but he is a numbers guy so the more people as a whole who vote for him the happier he will be. I think the only way for the GOP to finally want to break free of the Cult of President Trump is to see just how much of a disaster he really is and quite frankly nothing tells me that the GOP has seen this just yet, maybe the stress of having to govern the country for another 4 years will cause enough strain that President Trump finally does something to make the GOP pay attention and want to remove him from office (impeachment 2.0, but they vote to remove him from office this time).

    I am oddly resigned to the fact he may be a two term President even though theoretically there is still enough time before the election that things could go wrong for him to the point where the GOP abandons him before he is re-elected but I really do not believe he can do any wrong as far the GOP is concerned and might just get to govern though the entire 4 year second term. Folks like Dreher will quickly fall in line saying I briefly felt that judges/Supreme Court judges was not worth it but now that I have given it a second thought I am happy President Trump gets to remain President and MAGA.

    ETA: Now that his approval is up I would not be surprised that he changes his mind and decides not to send checks to certain states like CA, figuring that he does not need to buy our approval because his numbers are already up.

    Folks think I am joking, but I am not…could happen and he quickly changes his mind. We really let the GOP thrive over the last 30 years and did nothing to prevent them from creating the monster that is President Trump.

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  5. Pylon says:

    @inhumans99: I assume you are referring to the Harris Poll. It seems to be an outlier and is not given a high rating by Silver’s site.

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  6. gVOR08 says:

    @Pylon: @inhumans99: Or it may be an ABC/IPSOS poll that says 55% approve of how Trump is handling coronavirus. This isn’t overall approval, but is still pretty frightening. People turn conservative when they’re scared. Better the devil they know, or something. Trump’s pretense of being serious and caring makes me want to ralph. Others’ MMV.

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  7. DrDaveT says:

    @gVOR08:

    Trump’s pretense of being serious and caring makes me want to ralph. Others’ MMV.

    The contrast between Trump talking about himself and Trump being responsible could not be more striking. Didn’t he once disparage an opponent as “low energy”? When reading his prepared script of what the experts tell him to say, Trump has all the energy of a catatonic carrot.

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  8. EddieInCA says:

    I had to go to the doctor’s office today, and, frankly, didn’t notice any difference compared to the last few days. I live in Northridge, and had to go to Studio City, and didn’t notice anything different at all. Didn’t seem like less people were out. Alot of Restaurants (take out only) are still open, as well as auto repair shops and small businesses.

    Just an anecdote from one small part of Los Angeles.

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  9. Kari Q says:

    @gVOR08:

    He has done a couple of things that are actually decent responses, like invoking the defense production act to encourage the manufacturing of ventilators. Of course, that would have been better if it had been done months ago, but it’s still a decent response. So that part may be what people are responding to?

    Or it may be that, for most people, the crisis isn’t really here yet. We’re still on the edge when we can pretend that everything will be okay. In a few weeks, people may change their mind.

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  10. Tyrell says:

    Are the California citizens allowed to sit outside in their own yards? Can they still swim in their pools? How about fence talks with their neighbors? Dogs have to be walked.
    How about the homeless people who live on the sidewalks in boxes?
    Will people be allowed to leave California for other states?

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  11. EddieInCA says:

    @Tyrell:

    Are the California citizens allowed to sit outside in their own yards?

    Yes. Front or back.

    Can they still swim in their pools?

    Yes. Assuming they want to. My pool is still only 62 degrees and I don’t go in under 66 degrees.

    How about fence talks with their neighbors?

    Yes. Not an issue. But nobody does that. Been in this house 8 years, and have never have a ‘fence talk” with any of my five neighboring neighbors. That what texts are for.

    Dogs have to be walked.

    I took mine to the Simi Hills Dog Park today. There were four other dogs there. Like usual.

    How about the homeless people who live on the sidewalks in boxes?

    The Coronavirus is going to kill alot of them eventually.

    Will people be allowed to leave California for other states?

    Yes. When they can no longer afford their mortgages. Like usual.

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  12. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Tyrell certainly raises a lot of points.

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  13. Tyrell says:

    @EddieInCA: The traffic here is noticeably less 6:00am – 8:00am, 2:30pm – 4:00pm because of the school closures. In other words we no longer get stuck behind a school bus that that seems to stop every ten feet.
    The usual rush hour traffic is the same.

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  14. An Interested Party says:

    I think the only way for the GOP to finally want to break free of the Cult of President Trump is to see just how much of a disaster he really is and quite frankly nothing tells me that the GOP has seen this just yet, maybe the stress of having to govern the country for another 4 years will cause enough strain that President Trump finally does something to make the GOP pay attention and want to remove him from office (impeachment 2.0, but they vote to remove him from office this time).

    I don’t think as a country we can wait until Republicans finally see what a disaster Trump is…it will far better to get rid of him ASAP…plus, the GOP has become such a party of toadies that I wonder what he could possibly do to finally get them to turn against him…I mean, incompetence wasn’t enough…corruption wasn’t enough…hell, treason wasn’t enough…

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  15. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Trump is going to end up like Bush 43. Not explicitly disavowed, but conveniently unmentioned.

    Like springing the worst two presidents in the history of this nation on us in that short span somehow wasn’t their fault. It was our fault for goading them.

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  16. grumpy realist says:

    Illinois has just gone into lockdown as well.

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  17. Kathy says:

    @An Interested Party:

    The GOP politicos, a resounding loss in the EC and in the Senate. One can hope.

    The GOP base, I’d bet on a painful recession.

    The Cheeto base, maybe if Trump were to do something unthinkable, well beyond the pale, like something a decent man would do. But what are the chances of that happening?

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  18. mattbernius says:

    Add NY to the growing list.

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  19. Kathy says:

    @de stijl:

    It’s likely things will unfold that way.

    But a worthy successor for Trump, one made in his mold, would blast Trump as a closet Democrat.

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  20. de stijl says:

    @Kathy:

    They are on a strange trajectory.

    I cannot fathom a worse President than Trump.

    This has to be the nadir, yes? Hopefully.

    Thankfully, Trump is so bad at his job, the damage is still reparable.

    They understand they have to win some suburbs outside of the Old Confederacy, one would think.

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  21. gVOR08 says:

    Watching MSNBC. I think the visual image of this is going to be badly lit, grainy Skype interviews of people in their home offices.

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  22. Steve V says:

    @An Interested Party: When GW Bush left office his approval ratings were in the 20s and the name of the Republican party was toxic. They laid low for a few months and called themselves “Tea Partiers” for a year or two, and then came back and just started digging where W left off. If Trump looks bad, they just whine about the media. I don’t think there is any ever going to be any interest in changing directions, I’m afraid.

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  23. Joe says:

    As grumpy realist noted, Illinois has joined the stay at home club. Thus, Tyrell, I actually had to read the Order. Your not the first person I have heard from (and certainly won’t be the last) who is too busy bitching about it to read it. I agree with all of EddieInCA’s responses and you will be happy to hear the Illinois Order explicitly exempts homeless persons while exhorting local jurisdictions to find safe shelter for them. Bitching it easy; governing is harder.

    My only general observation about the Illinois Order is that it has so many exceptions it really does very little more than the restaurant closures of a week ago. My best assessment is that the primary purpose of the new Order is to say “We really mean it. We’re serious about this.” But it is hardly the harbinger of a police state, which I have heard mentioned.

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