SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Dr. Mark Ghaly, head of California’s massive Health and Human Services Agency, continues to wear a mask in grocery stores and will dine outside — but not indoors ­— at restaurants even as California, like much of the nation, has lifted its mask mandate and many other pandemic restrictions. This was among the topics explored March 4 as KHN Senior Correspondent Samantha Young met with Ghaly for a wide-ranging 30-minute interview hosted by the Sacramento Press Club.

Young spoke with Ghaly, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s top health adviser, about the administration’s plans for moving forward as covid case rates and hospitalizations ebb. Vaccines, testing, and masking are all part of the governor’s strategy, Ghaly said, as covid becomes endemic and Californians learn to live with the virus.

A pediatrician and father of four, Ghaly said the covid vaccine should be required for schoolchildren, similar to other mandatory childhood vaccines. “Our schools are better off because we have these requirements” for preventing diseases, Ghaly said.

California will allow children to be in classrooms without a mask after March 11, but Ghaly said he hasn’t yet talked with his kids about what they’ll do.

Click here to listen to the full conversation.

This story was produced by KHN, which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation.

KHN (Kaiser Health News) is a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues. Together with Policy Analysis and Polling, KHN is one of the three major operating programs at KFF (Kaiser Family Foundation). KFF is an endowed nonprofit organization providing information on health issues to the nation.


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Kaiser Health News

Kaiser Health News is a nonprofit news service covering health issues. It is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, which is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.