New York (Diplomat Times) 06, Dec 2020
With cases of the coronavirus surging and capacity inside intensive care units rapidly nearing dangerously low levels, nearly 85% of California residents will soon be under sweeping new restrictions as part of the state’s latest salvo to bring the pandemic under control. Residents st retching from Southern California to the San Joaquin Valley will be under a stay-at-home order through the Christmas holiday beginning at 11:59 this evening. The order will mean strict new closures for many businesses and a ban on gathering with anyone outside of your household in a stretch of the state that’s home to some 27 million people. The order will be in effect for at least three weeks. The order was triggered after ICU capacity in the two regions fell below a 15% threshold announced this past week by Gov. Gavin Newsom. In Southern California, the rate fell to 12.5% while in the San Joaquin Valley it had dipped to 8.6%, state health officials announced Saturday.
“We are at a tipping point in our fight against the virus and we need to take decisive action now to prevent California’s hospital system from being overwhelmed in the coming weeks,” the governor said ahead of Saturday’s announcement. By invoking the order, Newsom said, “we can flatten the curve as we’ve done before and reduce stress on our health care system.”
The order marked a dramatic shift for California, which for months had managed to avoid the worst of the virus relative to the rest of the country. Much of that success was owed to early action. In March, the state ordered all 39.5 million of its residents to stay at home indefinitely in what was then the widest-ranging directive in the nation. That order came at a time when California had roughly 1,000 confirmed cases and 19 deaths. As of Friday, the state had recorded more than 1.3 million cases and nearly 20,000 deaths.