15,000 Californians have died from COVID-19: CALPIRG calls to expand testing, limit interstate travel

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Media Contacts
Claudia Deeg

Matt Wellington

Former Director, Public Health Campaigns, PIRG

California reaches grim milestone amid misguided calls to reopen economy quickly


OAKLAND, Calif. — California surpassed 15,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Monday, making it the state with the fourth-highest number of deaths as the United States approaches 200,000 deaths across the country.

Claudia Deeg, CALPIRG Associate, issued the following statement in response:

“This is a tragic day for all Californians. Our hearts go out to those who have lost friends, family members and coworkers to the virus. Perhaps the most heartbreaking part of this is the knowledge that so many of these deaths were preventable.

Gov. Newsom made the right call last month by adopting a slow and cautious plan for reopening. We urge him to ignore requests to speed up that timeline to prioritize economic output, when economists have stated that will cost even more lives. To contain the virus, in addition to cautiously reopening,  California must also significantly expand its testing capacity, even more than the governor has already announced. Additionally, the state should limit nonessential interstate travel to prevent outbreaks in other parts of the United States from spreading to California.

Six months ago, this level of tragedy was inconceivable to many of us, but now we know that the pandemic will get far worse if we fail to act. To prevent more deaths in California we must increase testing and limit travel immediately.”


California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) is a statewide nonprofit that works to protect consumers and public health. Learn more at https://calpirg.org.


Read U.S. PIRG Public Health Campaigns Director Matt Wellingon’s piece on “What went wrong with the first COVID-19 shutdown?”

Nearly 1,400 public health professionals, including more than 250 from California, joined our open letter to governmental leaders to “Shut Down, Start Over, Do it Right”

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