“I don’t believe science suggests young people should be vaccinated. I don’t believe science suggests young people should wear masks in school,” Elder told CNN’s Joe Johns during a broadcaster. interview Monday afternoon in Los Angeles.
Even though some pediatric intensive care units faced a shortage of beds in areas hard hit by Covid-19 this summer, he went on to deceptively claim that “young people are not susceptible to contracting the coronavirus, and when they do, their symptoms are likely to be mild, and they are not likely to be hospitalized, and certainly not likely to die. “
The conservative radio talk show host’s statements blatantly contradict the patterns many doctors and medical officials warn as the highly transmissible Delta variant has spread across the country, rendering more young people unresponsive. vaccinated than the early stages of the virus last year. . At a time when coronavirus infections are on the rise in children across the United States, the Biden administration has embarked on an intensive campaign to vaccinate adolescents and young adults.
It has been a particularly frightening time for parents who send their children back to school in person, as a Covid-19 vaccine is not yet available for children under 12. Highlighting this risk, health officials in Houston reported a pediatric Covid-19 last week. 19 death of a young person who had no underlying health problems. More than 49,000 children have been hospitalized with Covid-19 since August 2020, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While Elder is correct that young people are less at risk of serious illness and death than older people, that doesn’t mean the disease has been safe for the younger population. Among children under 18, 496 have died from Covid-19, according to CDC website data as of Monday. And 3,031 Covid-19 patients between the ages of 18 and 29 have died, according to agency data.
Elder insisted he was “not anti-vax,” noting that he had been vaccinated and urged others to get vaccinated against Covid-19. But he said as governor he “certainly wouldn’t require” California state employees to get vaccinated, get tested once a week, or wear face masks at work, as Newsom has said. mandated.
He rejected the idea that there are more and more young people hospitalized with Covid-19. This position contradicts the facts. In mid-August, CDC data showed that every age group under 50 had surpassed its previous record for hospitalizations, recorded in January. And among these groups, the largest increase in hospitalizations occurred among adults aged 30 to 39 and children under 18.
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“I think science is all over young people,” Elder said in the interview. “I should challenge your idea that young people are dying.
As for cities, local jurisdictions or private businesses that wish to impose masks or vaccines, Elder said he “won’t have much power” over their policies as governor. When asked if he approves of the punitive approach taken by other governors who reject mask warrants in schools – namely Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis, who banned mask warrants in schools and then threatened to withhold funding from school districts that defied his order – Elder said, “I don’t mean to do that, no.” The American Academy of Pediatrics has recommended universal masking in schools for all people over 2 years of age, regardless of their immunization status.
The Republicans’ effort to force the Democratic governor to resign was prompted, in part, by the GOP’s anger at Newsom for his handling of the pandemic and what they saw as too restrictive rules and regulations to slow the rate down. spread of the virus.
Newsom was in a strong position for most of the summer, but the resurgence of Covid-19 and the wildfires ravaging the state have raised concerns among Democrats and Nationwide that there is a very real possibility that he is recalled and replaced by Elder or one of the more than 40 candidates seeking to replace him.
Postal ballots have been sent to all 22 million registered voters in the state, who will be asked two questions on the ballot. The first is a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question on whether they wish to remove the governor, who was elected with over 60% of the vote in 2018 but now faces a very close race on this. question. Voters are then invited to choose from the list of potential replacement candidates, including Elder. If Newsom is ousted by majority on question 1, his replacement will be chosen by simple majority.
“Not even close to anything on my agenda”
Elder has taken many staunchly conservative positions on the issues, often influenced by his libertarian approach to some of California’s most pressing issues. But he seemed eager to assure Californians that he wouldn’t follow through on some of his more controversial ideas.
The radio host and columnist, for example, argued that the minimum wage should be zero. But he told CNN on Monday that he had no plans to try to make that happen: “Am I opposed to minimum wage? Yes. … will I do something about it? This topic? Absolutely not. It’s not even close to anything on my agenda list. ”
Over the years, Elder has also taken radical positions on immigration, most notably in 2010 when he advocated for constitutional change to deny citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants. “The 14th Amendment was only meant to confer citizenship on newly freed slaves, not illegal aliens,” he wrote in a column.
But when asked if he would take steps to deny medical care and education to undocumented immigrants in California, Elder replied, “Again, not even close to anything on my agenda.” (California voters attempted to deny immigrants basic government services through a 1994 voting measure known as Proposition 187, but the policy was overturned by the courts.)
Elder also brushed off controversy over his past derogatory comments about women, which were reported by CNN’s KFile. He argued that he had also highlighted the intelligence of women and their growing importance in the workforce in his writings over the years.
“When I’m on the campaign trail – and I meet a lot of women – nobody says to me, ‘You know, Larry, I worry about what you’re going to do for women.’ Just you guys, ”he said, referring to the media. “That’s no problem. I’m going to be fair to everyone. I have common sense. I have good judgment.… I’m going to be fair to everyone, men and women. They shouldn’t. I have no concerns, ”he said when asked what he would say to voters concerned about his past comments.
“Indifferent” to Trump’s endorsement
Although Elder supported former President Donald Trump and developed a close relationship for many years with former Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller, he berated reporters for focusing on his association with the former president – who is deeply unpopular with voters in California and was defeated by President Joe Biden in the Golden State 63% to 34%.
He ignored his support for Trump in interviews with CNN and other media – noting that he had not voted for a Democrat since 1976 – and appeared to cover up his position on Trump’s big lie about voter fraud at the 2020 presidential race. When asked if he wanted the former president to support him, he replied that he was “indifferent”.
“If he wants to give me approval, fine. If he doesn’t want to give me approval, that’s fine too. I didn’t ask him. I didn’t ask,” said Elder on CNN. “I haven’t encouraged anyone outside (of California) to support me, no matter who he or she is.”
In previous comments, Elder appeared to change his stance on the 2020 election results, telling the Sacramento Bee editorial board that Biden won the election “fairly and squarely,” but then complained about the coverage of that remark – which sparked outrage among some senior Trump supporters on Twitter – did not include the full context of what he said about the alleged voting irregularities.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election.
When asked by CNN if he thought the 2020 election was “stolen” as Trump claimed, Elder replied, “Do I believe there was shenanigans? Oh yes.”
When asked if he thought Biden had been legitimately elected, he dodged the question.
“Biden is in the White House,” he said.
This story has been updated with more from the interview.