Ben Shapiro says politics are driving states' coronavirus policies and it's a 'problem'

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Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro argued Tuesday that California and other blue states' coronavirus-related responses are being driven by politics.

In an appearance on "Fox & Friends" with hosts Steve Doocy, Ainsley Earhardt, and Brian Kilmeade, Shapiro noted that one of the aspects that is really fascinating to him is to examine the reactions of purple states versus blue and red states.

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"So, the red states tend to be looking at opening. A lot of the blue states like California are staying closed to the point where Gavin Newsom was sending helicopters to Huntington Beach telling people to socially distance," he laughed. "And, the beaches were completely empty -- which is over the top."

"But, what's really interesting -- and the media aren't really talking about as much -- are the purple states, right?" Shapiro asked. "Jared Polis in Colorado is opening up. Tim Walz in Minnesota is opening up. The...governor of Maine is opening up. Steve Bullock in Montana, who is a blue Democrat in a red state, is opening up."

NEWSOM: SOME CALIFORNIA BUSINESSES CLOSED OVER CORONAVIRUS CAN REOPEN AS EARLY AS FRIDAY

"So, if you look at the purple areas, right? The areas where Americans are split -- what you're seeing is the governors are tending to think pretty seriously about opening up in ways that they're not in deep blue areas," he said.

"The political polarization surrounding [this issue] is really quite fascinating. Especially because, again, there should be public policy that is decided by infection rates and by population density," Shapiro stated.

"California has not been a hard-hit state," he added. "I mean, we have some big population centers, but we have a rate of something like five for 100,000 population in terms of deaths from COVID-19. That is a very, very low rate and yet we are being treated more like the residents of New York than we are being treated like the residents of Florida or Texas."

California's Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that the Golden State would move into the second phase of lifting coronavirus lockdowns, with some businesses being allowed to open as early as Friday. The plan outlined included a range of retailers that would be permitted to go back to work with modifications to help prevent spreading the virus.

As of Tuesday, California has recorded over 56,000 cases of the coronavirus with almost 2,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. There are now more than 1.1 million confirmed cases in the U.S. with almost 70,000 deaths reported.

A new report from The New York Times suggested Monday, however, that the Trump administration is privately projecting a steady rise in the number of cases over the next few weeks -- reaching around 3,000 deaths daily on June 1. That nearly double from the current level of about 1,750.

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"This public policy is not being driven by any sort of considered policy," Shapiro told the "Friends" hosts.

"It seems to be driven mostly by political considerations which, at this point, is a problem," he concluded. "And again, I'm very much for being careful given how little we know about what's coming next."