Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti had a grim warning about the coronavirus pandemic for cities in California and across the country.
“No matter where you are, this is coming to you,” Garcetti said in an online address Thursday. “Everybody is the new ‘whatever the worst city is’ right now. Take all the measures you can now to make sure people are home.”
California has reported 3,006 cases, the highest number behind the country’s hardest hit states – New York, New Jersey and Washington. At least 65 Californians have died.
“These are not numbers. These are neighbors. These are not statistics,” Garcetti said. “These are the loved ones that are in our families and our communities and our workplaces.”
At least 21 of the state’s deaths are from Los Angeles County, which has reported more than 1,200 cases. The county saw a huge jump in cases almost overnight – an increase of more than 50% in a day, according to the mayor.
If that rate of cases continues, in six days they will have the same number of cases as New York City, the mayor said.
“I was asked by a reporter today is Los Angeles the next New York,” Garcetti said. “And I said sure in the same way that New York is now the next Italy, and Italy was the next Iran and Iran was the next China, and no matter where you live, you are the next next.”
A similar warning in San Francisco
In Northern California, San Francisco Mayor London Breed had similar words for residents.
She warned that if people didn’t heed orders to stay home, the city could see a surge in coronavirus cases, similar to that of New York City.
“If people who are out on the streets continue to congregate with one another, continue to interact with one another which increases the spread of this virus, we will not have enough beds, enough ICU units, enough ventilators to support the people that we know are going to need them,” Breed said in a news conference earlier this week.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has repeatedly said lives in his own city may be lost due to the lack of medical supplies such as ventilators.
Breed estimated San Francisco would need at least 1,500 more ventilators and 5,000 more hospital beds to keep up with a rise in patient numbers.
“It is not even a question as to whether we will need more,” Breed said.
San Francisco’s Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax echoed those concerns, highlighting that was the reason why it was so important for residents to stay home.
“It is plausible that despite all these efforts we could have a scenario similar to the one that is playing out in New York this very day,” he said. “If that happens our capacity, our surge capacity will be far exceeded.”
California numbers are doubling
Throughout the state, a similar, grim picture.
The number of California cases is doubling every three to four days, comparable to New York’s rate of cases, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, the California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary..
“We originally thought that it would be doubling every six to seven days and we see cases doubling every three to four days,” Dr. Ghaly said.
The state can expect a surge in cases and patients in about a week or two, Ghaly said.