County announces 40 new deaths, 670 new cases
AS a way to promote transparency and accuracy regarding information about the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti unveiled a pair of new websites this week designed to dispel myths about the city’s actions and keep Angelenos readily informed.
The first website is a collection of daily information and data the mayor receives from city staff about the number of cases and deaths as well as the status of testing, the availability of hospital beds.
“I said, ‘We should be sharing this with all of LA,” Garcetti said on Monday, April 13, noting the importance of Angelenos keeping updated with the city’s response. “So, starting tonight, what I get every day, you’ll get every single day.”
The second website was designed to be a resource where Angelenos can fact-check the barrage of information and misinformation regarding the COVID-19 virus.
As previously reported by the Asian Journal, misinformation about the number of cases, the origins of the virus and the city’s response to the pandemic have been disseminated across social media.
“So the next time your friend texts you, or you see something up on Facebook, you can point them to the truth,” Garcetti said.
Garcetti also announced a new financial aid program for low-income Angelenos called the Angeleno Card program. The program provides prepaid debit cards with balances ranging between $700 to $1,500 for residents with incomes below the poverty line before the Safer at Home order was imposed.
It also applies to those who’ve had work hours reduced or had their incomes slashed by at least 50%.
To apply for a debit card, Angelenos may submit an application online or call 213-252-3040. Applications for the debit card will be accepted only from Tuesday to Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Garcetti emphasized that the cards would be available to all individuals regardless of citizenship status as well as individuals who already receive public benefits from the state or federal government.
“We are all Angelenos and I hope that our federal government will listen to that too,” Garcetti said. “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.”
Garcetti said that those who apply but do not receive a card will be placed on a waiting list. The no-fee debit cards were funded through the mayor’s Angeleno Fund in partnership with Mastercard and Garcetti’s Accelerator for America.
LA County expected to peak this weekend
On Monday, Garcetti also shared a model by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that projected that 2,004 hospital beds, 470 ICU beds and 412 ventilators will be needed Friday when hospitalizations are expected to peak.
On Tuesday, April 14, LA County officials announced 40 new coronavirus-related deaths, bringing the total number to 360 countywide. From Sunday to Tuesday, there have been a whopping 909 new cases, and as of Tuesday, about a quarter of positive cases required hospitalization.
Doubling down on physical distancing and the significance of the Safer at Home order, Garcetti noted that the projections are based “on the assumption that we keep up our work of the physical distancing that we have done and must do.”
“If we take our foot off the gas right now and stop physical distancing, models show that our hospitals could be overloaded by May 12,” he added.
As LA County prepares for the peak, leaders on the federal level are already discussing the “re-opening” of the country, i.e. lifting the shelter-at-home orders. The Trump administration has announced a committee to re-open the country despite the growing number of cases and deaths across the country.
But during a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors briefing on Monday, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of LA County Public Health, noted that the county will continue to base its response on the local numbers and cases before lifting any physical distancing measures.
“I know the president is really anxious for us to reopen and we’re also really anxious for us to reopen,” Ferrer acknowledged. “I think everyone knows that reopening is going to be staggered, and we’re gonna make sure that what we don’t do is act with haste. That causes a significant increase in both the number of cases and, just as importantly, in the number of deaths.”
She added, “I think we all share the same intent here, which is you know we want to get to the other side of this, but we want to get to the other side of this without causing either a collapse of our healthcare system or unnecessary deaths and illnesses.”