California’s Governor, Gavin Newsom, issued a statewide stay-at-home order – effective immediately – Thursday evening for all California counties as a new measure to bend the curve of those affected by the novel coronavirus.
The major announcement came after Newsom sent a letter to the US administration asking for a hospital ship to be deployed to Southern California to assist in the fight against COVID-19. In the letter, Newsom projected that more than half the state’s population could be infected by the disease.
“In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days…We project that roughly 56 percent of our population — 25.5 million people — will be infected with the virus over an eight week period,” Newsom said in the letter.
Non-essential businesses must close, but those who work in critical sectors will still be able to report to work. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks will remain open per the order.
The Democratic governor also announced that he is mobilizing 500 California National Guard troops to help with food distribution, but said they will be in place only for humanitarian reasons.
In a separate letter, Newsom on Thursday asked U.S. House and Senate leaders for $1 billion to support surge planning for state and local health systems. He said that money would be needed to do things like set up state-run and mobile hospitals, housing options to help people socially distance and testing and treatment for people without health insurance.
Among other steps, the state has ordered additional ventilators, is talking with the University of California on use of dormitories, and has negotiated for hospital space in Northern and Southern California that will increase the state’s capacity by 750 beds.
It’s not surprising to see California announce these measures. California is the most populated state in the US and has the potential to experience the full impact of this virus with the density of several metropolitan cities.
What do you make of this announcement?