Topline

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced a new stay-home order Friday in the nation’s most populous county, which will take effect Monday, and remain in effect through December 20, banning most gatherings, including those in private homes if people are from different households.

Key Facts

On November 17, L.A. County established thresholds for additional actions if the five-day average of cases rose above 4,500 or hospitalizations were more than 2,000 per day.

On Friday, public health officials confirmed 4,544 new coronavirus cases, which brought the five-day average of new infections to 4,751.

According to the new order, residents are advised to stay home “as much as possible” and always wear a face-covering over their nose and mouth when outside their home and around others.

“All public and private gatherings with individuals not in your household are prohibited, except for faith-based services and protests, which are constitutionally protected rights,” the order mandates.

Occupancy limits at various businesses include 35% maximum occupancy at essential retail shops, 20% max occupancy at non-essential retail locations, and 50% maximum occupancy at fitness centers operating outdoors.

All schools will remain open, as will beaches, trails, and parks.

Crucial Quote: 

“We know we are asking a lot from so many who have been sacrificing for months on end,” said Barbara Ferrer, L.A.’s public health director. “Acting with collective urgency right now is essential if we want to put a stop to this surge.”

Key Background:

Los Angeles health officials stated Friday that 1,893 people were hospitalized due to the coronavirus (an alarming increase of 250% compared to the total number of hospitalized Los Angelinos just one month earlier), with 24% of those patients were in intensive care units. Last week, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a curfew, covering 94% of the state, requiring Californians to stay in their homes between 10 p.m and 5 a.m. unless performing essential activities. “The virus is spreading at a pace we haven’t seen since the start of this pandemic, and the next several days and weeks will be critical to stop the surge. We are sounding the alarm,” Newsom said in a statement. In California as a whole, there has been an average of 12,903 cases per day over the past week, a 76% increase in the daily average from two weeks earlier. As of Saturday morning, there have been a total of 1,186,700 cases and 19,076 deaths in the state since the beginning of the pandemic, according to a New York Times database.

Tangent:

Last weekend, protesters in parts of California took to the streets to defy Gov. Newsom’s curfew orders. In Huntington Beach, in front of the city’s main pier, a crowd of hundreds took part in late-night “Curfew Breakers” protests. 

Big Number:

200,000. The United States reported more than 200,000 new coronavirus cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, shattering the all-time record for most new infections recorded in a single day.

Further Reading:

Los Angeles orders more restrictions as coronavirus surges (AP) 

U.S. Passes 13 Million Covid-19 Cases (Forbes)

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