LA, CA, USA – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti stated last Friday that if trends in the city continue, coronavirus cases could double every two days, and within five days the city would be on par with New York’s outbreak.
“We will be where they are,” Garcetti said, according to The Associated Press.
“We will have doctors making excruciating decisions. We will be trying to figure out what we do with that surge, how to get ventilators, where to find beds,” he added.
LA County residents got an emergency push alert to their phones Friday evening encouraging them to stay home, and notifying them that beaches and trails had been closed.
“We need your help to slow the spread of COVID 19,” the alert read, adding, “Stay home this weekend and weekdays until April 19.”
Garcetti also noted that the city was preparing to up enforcement of social distancing and business closures. One possibility is shutting off power to nonessential businesses that refuse to close. He stressed that “99.99 percent of this can be done without any criminal penalty, but we are prepared if anybody is an outlier”.
The state of New York currently has nearly 10 times the cases California does, more than half of them in New York City. The Golden State, meanwhile, has tallied some 4,800 infections – 1,465 in LA – making it the third-largest hot spot in the country last week. Tens of thousands of tests for the virus are still pending there, meaning the state’s disease toll is likely to soar higher as the results come in.
LA is just one major US city bracing for a spike in coronavirus cases and working to expand its hospital capacity. The Mercy hospital ship on Friday docked in the Port of Los Angeles where it will provide care to non-coronavirus patients, and the military is providing eight field hospitals with room for 2,000 patients.
Officials across the country are worried about a shortage in hospital space as well as critical medical supplies needed to treat coronavirus as cases increase. Hospitals and health care providers already say they don’t have enough of the supplies needed to protect doctors and nurses, and governors have been critical of the US administration’s actions on the issue.