Los Angeles Is Taking Drastic Action to Shut Down COVID Parties

Mayor Eric Garcetti wants to put an end to potential super-spreader events.

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While there have been some positive signs in California's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the outbreak is far from being contained. And in order for the state to continue its positive trajectory, residents will have to follow the measures recommended for controlling the spread of the virus: wearing masks, social distancing, and, of course, not large massive gatherings. Unfortunately, the number of large parties in the Los Angeles area has reached the point that the city is now taking drastic action to stop these potential COVID super-spreader events: The city will shut off water and power services to any households hosting large gatherings.

At a press conference on Aug. 5, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the new order, which goes into effect the night of Aug. 7, the Los Angeles Times reports. After that, if a big party is happening at a property—and there's evidence that it's a pattern of behavior—the L.A. Police Department will ask the city to shut off water and power to the residence within 48 hours.

"These large house parties have essentially become nightclubs in the hills," Garcetti said. "The consequences of these large parties ripple far beyond just those parties. They ripple throughout our entire community because the virus can quickly and easily spread."

friends dancing at a crowded house party
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Any substantial gathering has the potential to be a super-spreader event, particularly when it's held indoors with an especially large number of people. In other previously "safe" states experiencing a surge in COVID cases—like Hawaii, Rhode Island, and New Jersey—significant outbreaks have been traced back to gatherings. That's why Los Angeles County currently prohibits gatherings of any size with people outside of your household—though it's unclear how strictly this order has been enforced.

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It remains to be seen what effect Garcetti's new tactic will have on breaking up parties, but the state as a whole does appear to be moving in the right direction, even if California is underreporting its COVID numbers. While acknowledging the undercounting of new cases, California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, MD, said that hospitalizations in the state have gone down by 11 percent over the past two weeks, a promising sign.

According to Covid Act Now, Los Angeles County is currently seeing 20.7 daily new cases per 100,000 people, a higher daily new case rate than California's 16.9 cases per 100,000. But the county now has an infection rate of 0.91, which means COVID is spreading slowly—and if that number continues going down, it would mean active cases are decreasing. And for more cities that may need to take action, check out these 9 Major Cities the White House Is Worried About.

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