On Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned that Los Angeles was close to going into a complete shutdown due to the high number of new COVID-19 cases within the city.
Less than 24 hours after Governor Gavin Newsom announced that many businesses across California would be shut down again due to a new wave of cases statewide, Mayor Garcetti briefed the press on LA’s situation.
“Let me tell you the bad news,” said Mayor Garcetti at both the press conference and on Twitter. “We’ve never had as many people infected, or infectious. We’ve never had as many recorded positive cases each day, and we’ve never had as many people in the hospital as there are tonight as I speak to you.
“Do not host a party, do not attend a gathering, don’t treat this as a normal summer break. This virus is not taking the summer off, and we can’t afford to either. I know how tough this is on business owners, employees and the general public.”
“We can make this small sacrifice. We can wear a mask. We can clean our hands. We can keep 6 feet between us. And in doing so we can accelerate the day forward when we are back at school, and our economy is roaring back and we can rebuild our prosperity.”
Mayor Garcetti did note that the city’s COVID-19 threat meter would remain orange for now, but that any more climbs could change that.
While the City of Los Angeles’ COVID-19 threat level remains at orange, we are very close to moving to red. Please stay home when you can, avoid gatherings, and only visit businesses when you have to. pic.twitter.com/73tV9yPuQw
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) July 14, 2020
On Tuesday, another large jump did occur. Monday’s previous record high of 2,593 new COVID-19 positive test cases in LA County was shattered with over 4,000 new cases being announced, nearly doubling the record in a day. The total number of cases in LA County now hovers around 140,000, roughly about 1.4% of the entire county. The number of available ICU beds in LA County has also significantly fallen to around 100 left. While deaths remain relatively low with around an average of a dozen a day, L.A. County claims it is expected to go up due to the rising number of cases. Although the deaths are nowhere near where they were in April.
LA’s economy and jobs also at risk
Besides the growing health and safety risks, many worry about the economic situation that a total lockdown could bring on LA again.
“We don’t want to return to where we were in April,” noted garden supply store owner Joe Patterson to the California Globe. “We were reduced to online orders and having people wait outside while we had workers inside bring things out that were ordered. Business fell by a lot and we got through it but with a major hit to finances.”
“A lot of other businesses are like this. They either closed again due to the state order or they’re facing that closure again due to the city’s threat. Two months of lost business isn’t something a lot of businesses can take, and that happening again, man, we’ll need government help. And I hate saying that, but there aren’t many other places to turn to.”
With tens of thousands of people now having their jobs back on the brink, and the stock market regressing due to news from California, an LA shutdown could prove to add even more to LA’s economic woes.
However, Mayor Garcetti added on Monday that, despite everything, Los Angeles would not be giving up either on fighting COVID-19 or on working to bring the economy back.
“This city will not stop working for you,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I have no doubt that we will get through this together. But we each need to do our part.”
In a response, Joe Patterson pointedly said “Yeah, but what will that look like at the end?”
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