“Right now the California Department of Public health reports 10,000 cases since early March and 237 deaths and it looks like the number of new cases right now is actually pretty steady,” Dr. Jeffery Klausner, UCLA Professor of Medicine and Public Health told CBS Sacramento.
California governor Gavin Newsom implemented a strict stay-at-home order on March 19, which also temporarily closed down a number of “non-essential” businesses across the state in an effort to “bend the curve, and disrupt the spread of the virus.” Essential locations including grocery and convenience stores, restaurants for delivery, gas stations, pharmacies, banks, and laundromats remained open while those employed in critical sectors were allowed to continue going to work.
He also announced the continued closure of schools across the state through the end of the academic year and has regularly called on citizens to continue practising social distancing.
The latest “steady” rate of new cases appears to suggest that the strict order may be working, Klausner said, adding that “some people predicted that there would be epidemic spread in major cities. And in the absence of epidemic spread, some people are saying ‘well it must mean that stay at home orders are working.'”
Last month Newsom warned in a letter to President Donald Trump that 56 per cent of the state’s 40 million people, or 25.5 million people, could be infected with the virus over an eight-week period in a worst-case scenario.
But speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the governor said “the current modeling is on the lower end of our projection.” He was reluctant to say whether that means the impact on the state won’t be as devastating as initially feared, noting that the situation could easily change, adding “that’s why one just has to be very cautious about this.”
The White House on April 3 commended California’s efforts, with Vice President Mike Pence telling reporters at a press briefing that cases of the CCP virus “remain at a steady but low rate” in both California and Washington State, where the coronavirus first emerged in the United States, but noted that they’re “not out of the woods yet.” Pence added that the “American people putting into practice the President’s coronavirus guidelines” was “having a positive effect.”
Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, also praised California’s efforts, noting that the state’s “curve is different” from that of New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York, which in recent weeks has become the epicenter of the disease in the United States.
“We really do appreciate the work of the citizens of California and Washington State, because we do see that their curve is different,” Birx said. “Their curve is different from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. And we really believe that the work that every citizen is doing in those states is making a difference and it will make a difference for the frontline healthcare providers.”
As of April 5, California has 13,927 confirmed cases of the virus, while 321 deaths have been attributed to the disease.