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LA Could See Peak Hospitalizations And Deaths This Weekend

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Angelenos' collective efforts on physical distancing are beginning to bend the curve, and we could see hospitalizations peak as early as this Friday and deaths as early as Sunday.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shared these projections from the Institute for Health Metrics in his nightly address on the city's response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Garcetti also warned that lifting the stay-at-home order too soon could lead to a rapid resurgence in the number of cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. And those projections depend on Angelenos staying the course.

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Without physical distancing and other protective measures, the city and county could see hospitals overloaded with patients by May 12, Garcetti said.

Garcetti recounted the public health response to the deadly 1918 flu pandemic both in Los Angeles and San Francisco, noting that the Bay Area city lifted its physical distancing early and wound up with more deaths per capita than L.A., which emerged in better shape than most big cities.

He also warned that if we take heed of the history lesson, we should expect one and possibly two more waves of infection after the first, which could mean more stay-at-home orders in the future. During the so-called Spanish influenza outbreak of 1918, it was the second wave that proved deadliest. And there are signs that other countries attempting to reopen early, like Japan, are already seeing new outbreaks.

'ANGELENO CARDS'

Garcetti also announced a new program providing cash for L.A. families affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

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The "Angeleno Card" is a no-fee debit card with between $700 and $1,500 depending on household income and the size of a family.

To qualify, people must live in the city of L.A., have been below the federal poverty line before the pandemic, and lost a job or at least half their income because of the pandemic. Immigration status will not be considered.

"Those who are cleaning our hospitals, those who are picking our food. Those who are working in our warehouses. It doesn't matter what their legal status is today. They are here as Angelenos, and we will help them, no matter what."

You can sign up at hcidla.lacity.org or call 213-252-3040 between 8:30am Tuesday and 4:30pm Thursday (there are limited supplies, and the mayor asked anyone with internet access to avoid calling so that those without it have a chance of getting through).

Some other takeaways from tonight's address:

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  • L.A. County now has 24 testing locations, most of them drive-thru
  • The city's second walk-in clinic is expected to open tomorrow at the Cajun Community Health Center in South L.A. — part of an effort by local officials to address the disproportionate burden of this disease on African Americans and lower-income Angelenos, the mayor said.
  • L.A. will begin sharing its latest data every day at coronavirus.lacity.org/data
  • There's also now a myth-busting site at coronavirus.lacity.org/myths

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