California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) didn't mince words on Monday, calling out several right-wing politicians, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), and Fox News host Tucker Carlson for spreading misinformation about the coronavirus.
"We're exhausted by the right-wing echo chamber that has been perpetuating misinformation around the vaccine and its efficacy and safety," Newsom said during a press conference. "We're exhausted by the politicalization of this pandemic and that includes mask wearing that has been equated to the Holocaust. It's disgraceful. It's unconscionable and it needs to be called out."
Newsom also addressed people who are refusing to get vaccinated because of the falsehoods being spread, saying, "Your choice not to get vaccinated and to listen to these pundits that are profiteering off misinformation, intentionally misinforming, comes at a real societal cost." It is a "choice to live with this virus," he declared, and "with all due respect, you don't have the choice to go out and drink and drive and put everybody else's lives at risk. That's the equivalent of this moment with the deadliness and efficiency of the Delta [variant]. You're putting other people's, innocent people's lives at risk."
His comments hit a nerve, with Greene replying on Twitter that Newsom's "Communist dictatorship" is what is "exhausting to the people of California." The lockdown enacted in California during the beginning of the coronavirus was "disgraceful," she added, and "mandating vaccines against people's will is unconscionable." She appeared to be referring to Newsom announcing on Monday that starting in August, California state employees and health care workers will have to either show proof of vaccination or undergo regular testing. There is no mandate.
In response, Newsom tweeted at Greene, "Disgraceful? Here's a word — murderous. Your anti-vaccine lies are literally killing Americans. Your own supporters are following you off a cliff and into the ICU. Come clean about vaccines — they save lives."
COVID-19 cases are rising in all 50 states, as the highly-contagious Delta variant quickly spreads. In California, 53 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, and more than 60 percent have received at least one dose of a vaccine, the Los Angeles Times reports. Not enough people have been vaccinated yet for there to be herd immunity, health experts say, and as of Sunday California has a daily average of 11.2 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 residents, up from a low of two cases per 100,000 in June.