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By Collin Breaux

Conditions in California will continue to return to some sort of normality, and with less restrictions, by this summer if COVID-19 cases keep dropping and vaccinations increase.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the likely coming switch during a press conference on Tuesday, April 6. Newsom said the state has reached 20 million administered doses overall and four million under an equity metric, which is for underprivileged groups.

The state’s four-tier, color-coded blueprint system will be no more on June 15 if improvements continue. The tiers variously restrict or allow certain activities in a county, depending on the particular number of COVID-19 cases in an area. Orange County is currently in the orange “moderate” tier, which allows a fair amount of activities and is the second least restrictive tier.

The almost-full reopening means businesses can generally operate at full capacity again.

“We have administered more doses than all but five nations in the world,” Newsom said. “The state of California, that 20 million mark represents over 7 million more doses than any other state in the country.”

Death rates have gone down, case rates have stabilized, and California has the lowest case rates in America, Newsom said. There is reportedly a 1.6% positivity rate over a seven-day period in the state.

However, Newsom urged residents to keep their guard up, continue wearing masks, and maintain vigilance when it comes to the pandemic.

Newsom’s announcement comes as in-person activities and events are gradually returning to South Orange County, and Capistrano Unified School District gradually increases the number of days students can be on campus for face-to-face learning. The gradual return to usual daily life and drop in cases comes as cases rise in other parts of the country.

Newsom faces a recall effort, driven in part by anger over his frequent ordered shutdowns of businesses and other activities throughout the global outbreak. The collected signatures will likely meet a required threshold, and while the exact date for a recall election is unknown, it could happen later this year.

Orange County reported 6,665 tests on April 6, and has over 3.4 million cumulative tests so far. There have been 243,626 recoveries to date.

Twelve deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Orange County on April 6. There have been 4,784 cumulative deaths in Orange County to date.

A majority of counties in California are in the orange tier, though some are in the more restrictive red “substantial” tier. There are now two counties in the widespread tier, 22 in the substantial tier, 32 counties in the moderate tier, and two in the minimal tier.

On the vaccine front, Orange County had reportedly administered over 1.6 million doses–an increase by 222,558 from a week ago.

Nationally, the United States has 30.8 million total cases and approximately 555,000 deaths in total as of Tuesday. California has approximately 3.68 million total cases and 59,769 deaths as of Tuesday. There are approximately 132 million cases worldwide in total.

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