California pediatric hospitalizations surge as Newsom boasts about handling of pandemic

A child receives a COVID-19 test (Credit: Envato)

Daily confirmed pediatric COVID-19 hospitalizations in California reached an average of 102 for the week ending September 2. This is 770 percent above the level in early June 2021 before schools reopened and only 29 percent below their previous high of 144 in January 2021. This rapid increase in incidence of severe COVID-19 is a devastating indictment of the Democratic Party and its pandemic strategy of allowing the virus to circulate widely in reopened schools, businesses and sporting events with token mitigation measures in place.

As the September 14 deadline approaches for the gubernatorial recall election, the surge in child hospitalizations also exposes the central lie upon which Newsom’s entire campaign is based: that his administration’s policies have protected Californians, particularly children, from the pandemic.

The national Democratic Party is deeply concerned that Newsom may lose the election, with the party and wealthy Silicon Valley and Hollywood donors flooding over $60 million into his campaign, against roughly $8 million raised by the far-right backers of the recall.

No serious attempt is being made to present the recall as an endorsement of Newsom’s record. Instead, they are relying on workers’ justifiable fear that a “yes” victory would usher in the ultra-right Republican talk show host Larry Elder, who, in addition to scrapping the minimum wage and attacking reproductive rights, explicitly aims to remove all remaining efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19 in favor of a homicidal “herd immunity” policy.

Former President Obama recently released an ad stating that the election is a choice “between protecting our kids and putting them at risk.” One of Newsom’s major video ads begins with the claim that “with Delta surging, Gavin Newsom is protecting California.”

To justify this assessment, Democrats point to a full vaccination rate of 66 percent for those 12 and older, according to the New York Times. Daily new cases of COVID-19 in California, reported by, for which the 7-day average was 10,176 on September 8, was a 77 percent reduction from the high of 45,021 in December 22 of last year. Texas, which has banned masks in schools and has a lower 12 and older vaccination rate of only 58 percent, has 18,532 daily average new cases, approaching the all-time high of 22,968 in January 2021.

However, these case numbers mask the reality of a poorly developed testing and reporting infrastructure. California’s reported 7-day average case rates were 37 percent higher the day before Labor Day weekend, with the New York Times noting a dip in reported numbers across the country over the long weekend. Hospitalizations provide a more accurate picture of the true state of the pandemic and the realities workers face under a Democratic-led mitigation policy.

Data from the “COVID-19 Reported Patient Impact and Hospital Capacity by Facility” dataset, compiled by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, illustrates trends in pediatric and adult COVID-19 hospitalizations. Data presented in this article demonstrates the choice workers face between the twin ruling class policies of herd immunity (promoted by Republicans in states such as Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas) and mitigation (advanced by Democrats in states such as California and New York, as well as the Biden administration).

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