This Governor Just Pulled "Emergency Brake" Statewide
As the coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue to surge across the country, states on both the Pacific and Atlantic—and everywhere in-between—are starting to step back into lockdown mode. On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he could not wait another day to order widespread closures in the state, revealing that the number of infections has doubled in the last week alone. Read on to hear his warning, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Gov. Newsom Says "We Are Sounding the Alarm"
"We are sounding the alarm," said Newsom. "The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes."
Forty-one of the state's 58 counties—including most of the San Francisco Bay Area—will be required to shut down churches, suspend indoor dining, and close gyms for the foreseeable future as part of the emergency measure, which allowed for the shift into shutdowns after one week of rising infections instead of two. Additionally, they shifted from a recommendation not to gather with members of more than 2-3 other households to a strict "do not gather indoors with other households" order.
According to a statement from the Governor's Office on Monday, 94.1 percent of California's population will be in the most restrictive tier. Some of the counties have shifted across multiple tiers in the last week, and instead of giving them 72 hours to comply, they only will be given 24.
As for greater restrictions to come: "We are actively discussing this with our local health officials and internally about what we can do with this rapid rate of rise and what we could do with the 'emergency brakes' we built in from the beginning," said California's Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr, Mark Ghaly, last week. "Our concern with this rapid rate of rise is that the peak could be higher [than in July] if we don't restrict."
"This is no longer a marathon, this is a sprint," he said, revealing a whopping 10,968 new cases on Monday — the fastest rate of increase in the entire pandemic. He added that hospital bed occupancy has nearly doubled in the last two weeks, with the number of ICU patients with the virus up 38 percent.
"We are now seeing community spread throughout the state of California," he said, mentioning that he is "looking into the notion of a curfew."
The state of New Jersey also tightened COVID restrictions on Monday, as did the city of Philadelphia.
"We worry that people are getting complacent; they see that everything is open and life is getting into a sort of new normal," James Garrow, spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, told Billy Penn. "By restricting activities the city will not only be shutting down potential routes of exposure, but will also demonstrate in a meaningful way that it's not safe to be around others."
How to Survive the Pandemic Unscathed
As for yourself, no matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place until there's a vaccine available: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.