Rural California Counties Seek to Reopen Sooner Than the Rest of the State

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BAKERSFIELD, CA - A school bus passes a canal near Bakersfield, California.  (David McNew/Getty Images)

Leaders from rural communities in California have called for Gov. Gavin Newsom to ease up shelter-in-place restrictions sooner than more urban parts of the state.  Only about 10 percent of Californians live in counties that account for over half of the state’s land mass. Because these less-densely populated parts of the state have had fewer coronavirus cases to date, county leaders want to instead focus on reviving their dormant economies. However, many rural areas in California -- and nationwide -- lack hospital capacity and access to medical care. That means an outbreak could be especially devastating. We dive into the desire to open up rural California and how the coronavirus has played out in those regions.


Mackenzie Mays, California reporter, Politico

Kristin Olsen, chair, Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors

James Gallagher , Third District assemblymember, California State Assembly