SAN FRANCISCO (BLOOMBERG) - California will rely on wastewater testing and the ability to quickly ramp up vaccinations to deal with future waves of the coronavirus, under a plan officials unveiled on Thursday (Feb 17).
With the Omicron variant rapidly fading in the state, Governor Gavin Newsom is trying to lay the groundwork for a return to something like normal life after two years of lockdowns and mask mandates. The plan - given the acronym SMARTER - says the state will negotiate with manufacturers to maintain a supply of tests that can be quickly deployed in case wastewater scans detect new outbreaks.
California, which lost more than 82,500 people to the virus, will also maintain a stockpile of 75 million high-quality masks for rapid distribution and wants to maintain the ability to administer 200,000 vaccine doses per day.
"As case rates decline, we must be humble," Newsom, a Democrat, said on Thursday in a tweet. "We don't know what Covid-19 may bring but we've learned a lot."