California governor cancels Covid briefing over safety concerns

Gavin Newsom, governor of California, speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, California

Rich Pedroncelli | Bloomberg | Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom canceled his scheduled coronavirus update on Wednesday out of “an abundance of caution” after a mob of protestors supporting President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol.

“We are concerned for the safety of California’s congressional delegation and U.S. Capitol staff, and are reaching out to offer support in every way possible,” the Democratic governor said in a statement, adding he was concerned about the safety of his own office staff in California as well.

“Peaceful protest is an important mechanism of our democracy but what we are witnessing in our nation’s Capitol building is reprehensible and an outright assault to our democracy and Democratic institutions,” Newsom said.

The news comes as California faces the deadliest days of the Covid-19 pandemic. The state is reporting roughly 354 Covid deaths daily, a record weekly average and a near 49% increase compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

A spokesperson for the governor told CNBC that staff at the capitol were asked to work from home for the remainder of the day. People who had gathered to protest on the capitol grounds have since left and there have been no major incidents, the spokesperson said.

The Sacramento Police Department said in a tweet that 11 people were arrested for the illegal possession of pepper spray, and there were some physical altercations. However, the demonstrators have dispersed and a large police presence will remain in the area throughout the night.

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