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The Orange County Register published a commentary by Dr. Jonathan Fielding, UCLA FSPH distinguished professor of health policy and management, Dr. Steven M. Teutsch, professor of health policy and management at FSPH, and Ellie Faustino, Administative Coordinator for the Fielding School's UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions, about the course of the pandemic in California.
In early April, California seemed on track to control the spread of COVID-19. By July the outbreak was exploding, and by July 23 the number of COVID cases in California had surpassed that of New York.
Opening the state too soon is an easy explanation for the change. But it is more than that. California is home to subpopulations with very different values. Rugged individualism and individual freedom are core inalienable values in many parts of the state, particularly parts of Southern California like Orange and San Diego counties, and the non-coastal areas.