I’d rather not write about death rates, from COVID or anything else. It can be insensitive to reduce pain, suffering, and loss to unfeeling statistics.

But Gavin Newsom is forcing me to. To justify his worst-in-the-nation lockdowns, Newsom is going around the state bragging about death rates.

  • In his State of the State, he asserted that “California’s death rate has remained one of the lowest per capita in the nation.”
  • In his anti-Recall rollout on CNN, he claimed “we have lower death rates than the vast majority of states…much lower than Florida.”
  • At last Thursday’s press conference in Orange County, he declared that “a lot of other states have huge death rates that are exponentially larger than California.”

These boasts aren’t just perverse. They’re completely bogus. Here’s how California actually ranks according to the CDC:

  • 28th highest overall COVID death rate. Florida is 27th, although it does better in direct age group comparisons.
  • 4th highest current COVID death rate, averaged over the last week.
  • 6th highest excess death rate throughout the COVID era. This is a measure of increased mortality from all causes.

As a caveat, comparisons between states are not always apples to apples. For instance, California might fare better on account of its younger population and agreeable weather, and worse on account of its denser settlement patterns. Other factors, like humidity, are not well-understood. And there are surely many unknown unknowns.

All of that nuance, of course, is lost in Newsom’s braggadocio. What we know for sure is this: after a year with the nation’s most severe restrictions, California is somewhere between the middle and bottom of the pack on the key measures of public health. That should be case closed: Newsom’s lockdowns are doing immense harm without any discernible benefit.

In a free society, the burden is on the government to justify any imposition on the liberty of citizens. Yet Newsom’s color-coded “Blueprint,” which amounts to total community control, has never been justified at all. That’s why I’ve introduced Assembly Concurrent Resolution 46 to terminate the emergency and end all state COVID restrictions.

It’s not acceptable to say let’s just wait another month, or two, or six. Every day this continues is a fresh abuse, a new political crime, another reason to assure this Governor never wields power again.

Ultimately, the COVID era can serve to normalize state control, or it can spark a revival of self-government. As our state and nation face this momentous fork in the road, perhaps no event will be more decisive than the Newsom Recall.

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Kevin Kiley is a Republican California Legislator fighting back against the Supermajority and Special Interests at the State Capitol. Sign up for updates to be part of our growing movement, and join other Californians of patriotism, decency, and common sense who want nothing more than to save our state.