The Democrat leading the nation’s biggest state is facing a raging pandemic, vaccine distribution problems and a nascent recall drive.
LOS ANGELES — California is running so low on oxygen that officials are telling emergency crews to conserve supplies. Ambulances in Los Angeles are backed up outside emergency rooms, sometimes for hours. And the coronavirus vaccine distribution remains so disjointed that a freezer failure that forced immediate inoculations of hundreds of people in Northern California — inmates, older people, and some people on the street — was hailed as an improvement.
Californians are frustrated, tired and sick. And in the midst of the unfolding catastrophe, Gov. Gavin Newsom — confronting a burgeoning recall effort, on top of a year of wildfires and civil unrest — is under siege.
“Nobody has been dealt a tougher hand than Gavin Newsom,” Gray Davis, the former California Democratic governor who was recalled in 2003, said in an interview. “Look, I had the energy crisis and a recession. He has a pandemic we haven’t seen for 100 years. He has the fallout from that pandemic, racial injustice, wildfires, and I think I’m leaving something out. But nobody, no living governor, has had to experience as many crises as him.”
Halfway through his first term, the Democratic governor of the nation’s most populous state is scrambling to control a pandemic that has crippled the southern half of California since Thanksgiving. The pandemic has given Republicans, long sidelined in this heavily Democratic state, a rare opportunity to wound him. And Newsom is laboring to keep the state — and his own political future — intact.
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