Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) has issued an uncompromising stay-at-home order for his city’s four million residents.
The harsh decree comes amid a surge of coronavirus infections nationwide. In a warning aimed at all 19 million inhabitants of Greater Los Angeles, Garcetti said the region is “close to a devastating tipping point.”
Instead of entrusting the populace to act in their own self-interest, Garcetti has prohibited all public and private gatherings involving more than one household. He pleaded with Los Angelenos to stay home unless necessary.
All nonessential travel, including bicycling and walking, is prohibited.
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Garcetti urged residents to ‘cancel everything,’ saying no one should be hosting gatherings or going to gatherings. Those who break the rules may potentially be arrested, he warned.
It comes as Los Angeles County, which is home to the city and has about 10 million residents total, reported surges in daily cases with 6,000 infections recorded yesterday.
Garcetti added that only 479 suitable hospital beds for Covid-19 patients remain open in Los Angeles County. At the current rate, the county will be out of hospital beds by Christmas.
The mayor’s message to those watching was as straightforward as it was inflexible, “My message couldn’t be simpler: It’s time to hunker down. It’s time to cancel everything. And if it isn’t essential, don’t do it.”
It’s unclear how many residents won’t comply with the mayor’s order. Residents desperately clinging to any semblance of normal life are already disregarding local ordinances by frequenting playgrounds, shopping malls, and other closed public venues.
The surge in cases in both L.A. and across the US could be curbed when a COVID-19 vaccine is rolled out. Operation Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui said he expects approval of Pfizer’s shot in mid-December. At-risk elderly people and frontline workers will be first in line to receive the vaccine. It’s expected that 100 million Americans will be vaccinated by February.