Updated 7:25 p.m.
It’s been nearly two weeks since Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered Californians to stay at home except for essential trips like picking up food and medicine. Now public health officials say staying home and maintaining a distance of at least six feet from others may be working to slow the spread of the virus.
Still, at a news conference Wednesday Newsom continued to stress that Californians should remain home whenever possible.
“It’s more than just rhetoric, it’s more than just words,” Newsom said. He called staying home a “civic duty” that will “quite literally save lives.”
With no mitigation efforts, the state projected around 700,000 Californians would have been hospitalized with COVID-19 by mid-May. Under the current efforts, that number is projected to be closer to 66,000 hospitalizations, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Today, @CHHSAgency Secretary Mark Ghaly previewed CA’s #COVID19 modeling.— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) April 1, 2020
📍The most important thing we can do to keep the line as low as possible is to continue to stay home & practice physical distancing!📍
Together, we can bend the curve. #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/FxEOgvAlKf
“We are grateful for everyone’s effort, but I want to remind you that in order to keep this line and stay to it, we need to deliver on these efforts on physical distancing,” Ghaly said. “That means holding each other accountable.”
Ghaly emphasized that the number “is not the best-case scenario. This is if we do what we are doing today.”
“This model can be improved,” Ghaly said, if Californians continue to leave their homes only for essentials. That, in turn, will buy time for the state to shore up hospital beds and acquire ventilators, protective equipment and other supplies.
Newsom has said he hopes to expand the state’s hospital capacity by 50,000 additional beds.
California was the first to issue a statewide “stay home” order. As of Tuesday, 37 states had implemented similar orders, according to the New York Times.
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