‘We will be where they are’: LA Mayor says he expects city to catch up with NYC on coronavirus in DAYS

‘We will be where they are’: LA Mayor says he expects city to catch up with NYC on coronavirus in DAYS

A rush of Covid-19 patients will soon swarm Los Angeles’ hospitals, the city’s mayor warned, noting that a rapid rise in cases has put LA on track to eclipse New York City in under a week.

With California seeing a 26 percent spike in coronavirus patients on Friday alone, LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said his city would likely be overwhelmed, with cases doubling every two days, pushing its medical facilities to the breaking point.

“We will be where they are,” Garcetti said, referring to NYC, the nation’s hardest-hit city. “We will have doctors making excruciating decisions. We will be trying to figure out what we do with that surge, how to get ventilators, where to find beds.”

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The state of New York currently has nearly 10 times the cases California does at over 46,000, more than half of them in New York City. The Golden State, meanwhile, has tallied some 4,800 infections – 1,465 in LA – making it the third largest hotspot in the country. Tens of thousands of tests for the virus are still pending there, meaning the state’s disease toll is likely to soar higher as the results come in.

Though a 1,000-bed Navy hospital ship arrived in Los Angeles to make room in the city’s cramped medical facilities on Friday – as the US military also rushes to construct field clinics with another 2,000 beds – the reinforcements will fall far short of the 50,000 California Governor Gavin Newsom says the state could need in the coming weeks.

Newsom ordered California’s 40 million residents into self-isolation in their homes last week – the first governor to impose a statewide lockdown – but some epidemiologists have warned the measures may fall short unless they are more strictly enforced.

“When you see pictures of crowded ski lodges in the mountains of California, one wonders if one shouldn’t take a more aggressive approach,” Dr. Sten Vermund, an infectious disease expert at the Yale School of Public Health, told a local publication. If even two percent of residents disregard social distancing guidelines, they could become “a nidus of transmission for everyone else,” Vermund added.

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