The mayor of America’s second-largest city is concerned that local hospitals aren’t ready for the coronavirus outbreak.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made the revelation while discussing the spread of COVID-19 during an appearance on KNX's In-Depth.
“Are you confident that the hospitals here in Southern California ...can handle this?” co-host Charles Feldman asked.
“I’m not and that’s not a reflection of their lack of excellence,” responded Garcetti. “The public health director who I was just with, Barbara Ferrer, has said ‘we are on the verge of some of these systems collapsing.’ Now that doesn’t mean nobody will be treated. It means the hotline that the county has for providers to call in usually gets about 110 calls a week, yesterday it was 600 calls in a single day. So just getting the number of people who can pick up the phone and respond... we are on the verge of not having that capacity."
Garcetti stressed that this is the reason it is imperative that everyone does their part in social distancing themselves from large crowds so we don’t increase the caseloads in hospitals.
“Being outside the home may be ok,” he added. “We just have to practice social distancing when we are out.”
The CDC defines social distancing as "remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining distance (approximately 6 feet or 2 meters) from others when possible."
Mayor Garcetti also doesn’t think we should expect the virus to be gone in the next two weeks.
“In terms of estimate, I think a couple weeks is optimistic,” he continued. “Generally, if you look at past things it’s more like four weeks at least, and could double that. But this will really depend on what we do. If we all obey this and abide by it and practice good habits you will see the incidences be a shorter period of time and less severe.”
And despite many supermarkets seeing a run on toilet paper and other supplies, Garcetti assures there won’t be any citywide rationing of food.
"No. We are absolutely not at that place yet,” he said. “I would ask people just to remain calm and be generous. Disaster brings out the best of us in Los Angeles and we can't let this one be different."