This City Could Soon "Shut Down Again to the Strictest Level," Mayor Says
The warning came before another record-breaking day of COVID cases and hospitalizations.
The coronavirus pandemic continues to rage throughout the U.S., forcing certain hard-hit states to take drastic action to try to get their outbreaks under control. In some cases, it's more concentrated areas that have been particularly ravaged by the virus. Los Angeles County—which was recently identified as one of the four new epicenters of the pandemic in the country—has been struggling to contain COVID. With case numbers and hospitalizations reaching new heights, Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti is now saying the city may have to shut down again.
"While the city of Los Angeles' COVID-19 threat level remains at orange, we are on the border of going to red," Garcetti said at a press conference on July 13, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. "Red is when everything shuts down again to our strictest level. I do want to warn people that we're close to that."
Trying to convey the reality of the situation, Garcetti spoke in stark terms about the need for immediate action—in this case, everyone complying with measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, like social distancing and wearing masks. He noted that there were more cases in Los Angeles County than in all of Canada. And while the death rate has not risen significantly, hospitalizations are at an all-time high, and ICU beds and ventilators are in short supply.
"We've never had as many people in the hospital as there are tonight in Los Angeles," Garcetti said.
Earlier in the day on July 13, California governor Gavin Newsom announced that he was ending indoor dining statewide, as well as closing gyms, salons, places of worship, and other businesses in 30 especially troubled counties—including Los Angeles.
But it will take some time before it becomes clear if these restrictions are effective in slowing the spread of coronavirus. Since Newsom's and Garcetti's press conferences, COVID numbers in Los Angeles have skyrocketed even higher. As the L.A. Times reports, July 14 saw a record number of new cases (4,244) and coronavirus hospitalizations (2,103), with 27 percent of the latter in intensive care. There were also 73 deaths from COVID.
To date, there have been over 140,300 COVID cases in Los Angeles, according to The New York Times' data, and nearly 3,900 deaths. As these numbers rise rapidly, Garcetti has made it clear that it will take a collective effort to keep the city from slipping from "orange" into "red"—and triggering another full shutdown. "It is up to all of us that we don't [get there]," he said. And for more places on the verge of another lockdown, check out these 7 States That Are Headed for a "Full Shutdown."