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Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken criticism on all sides for a series of extremely consequential and politically risky calls over the past year as he’s led California through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now his biggest decision of all, to fully reopen a state of 40 million people for business by June 15, may be one of the safest choices he’s made yet.

Public health experts say it’s unlikely that another surge of the virus would overwhelm the hospital system in California. Absent a new variant or mutation that renders vaccines ineffective across the country, they believe the chance that Newsom would need to reinstate the kinds of restrictions that frustrated some voters and helped fuel the recall effort against him is almost nil.

“I’m sure they thought long and hard about this and decided to make a bet, and I think the odds are awfully good that they’re going to win it,” said Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chairman of the Department of Medicine at UC San Francisco.

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