California Street, usually filled with iconic cable cars, is seen mostly empty in San Francisco, California on March 17, 2020.
Josh Edelson | AFP | Getty Images
A top aide to Vice President Mike Pence, who leads the White House’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, said Friday that California’s sweeping order for residents to stay at home should not necessarily be copied by other states.
Marc Short, Pence’s chief of staff, was asked on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” whether California’s decision, issued Thursday evening by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom, will soon be copied by most other states.
Short said that since three states — California, Washington and New York — comprise more than half of all confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., Newsom’s order may not become “a one-size-fits-all policy.”
“It’s important to keep in mind that we have a federalist system” that allows “local communities to do what they think is best for their communities, and us to provide them the resources they need to make the best informed decisions,” Short said.
“I think there’s an abundance of caution in some of the policy decisions that have been made to protect more Americans, but as we see better information, which we’re getting now in the testing and the rapidity of the spread, it’s going to inform whether or not the one-size-fits-all really makes sense,” he said.
Newsom’s decision, which will stay in place until further notice, marks one of the most extreme attempts yet to “flatten the curve” of projected transmission of the COVID-19 virus across the U.S.
All dine-in restaurants, bars and clubs, gyms and fitness studios will be closed, according to the order. Public events and gatherings are also not allowed. Essential services will stay open, however, such as pharmacies, grocery stores, takeout and delivery restaurants, and banks.
With nearly 40 million residents, California is the most populous state in the country.
Short also noted that more than half of coronavirus infections in America are concentrated within 10 counties out of more than 3,000 in the U.S.
Short also suggested that President Donald Trump’s administration will probably not consider locking down those few counties that have been hit hardest by the disease.
The White House’s guidelines for preventing coronavirus transmission “are intended so it stays and doesn’t spread beyond where it currently is,” Short said. “I don’t foresee a federal mandate on that, no.”