New­som: Mea­sures could last 2 or 3 months

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - Bay Area News Group re­port

At the same time, Gov. New­som warned that the state needs to in­crease by two-thirds its ca­pac­ity of hospi­tal beds.

Tough so­cial dis­tanc­ing mea­sures to stamp out the coro­n­avirus’ spread may need to last two or three months in Cal­i­for­nia, Gov. Gavin New­som sug­gested on Mon­day, in a dras­tic con­trast with Pres­i­dent Trump, who just min­utes ear­lier had pre­dicted the U.S. econ­omy could re­open for busi­ness in weeks, not months.

At the same time, New­som warned that the state needs to in­crease by twothirds its ca­pac­ity of hospi­tal beds in the face of the pan­demic, in­creas­ing the to­tal beds avail­able by 50,000 to ac­count for a po­ten­tial surge in in­fected cases.

The di­ver­gent mes­sages from Wash­ing­ton and Sacra­mento came as Cal­i­for­nia breached 2,000 coro­n­avirus cases and the U.S. recorded more than 100 coro­n­avirus deaths in a sin­gle day for the first time so far.

And as the Bay Area marked one week un­der shel­ter-in-place or­ders Mon­day,

of­fi­cials and res­i­dents braced for changes to come — from ef­forts to trans­form a South Bay con­ven­tion cen­ter into a makeshift hospi­tal to more gov­ern­ment work­ers test­ing pos­i­tive for the virus.

“If you want to bend the curve, we have got to bend to a deeper un­der­stand­ing and meet this mo­ment head on,” New­som said at a press con­fer­ence. “We have to act dif­fer­ently.”

As of Mon­day evening, Cal­i­for­nia had reached 2,162 con­firmed cases of coro­n­avirus and 39 deaths re­lated to the dis­ease, ac­cord­ing to the to­tal cu­mu­la­tive cases as re­ported by the coun­ties.

Santa Clara County’s to­tal of con­firmed cases rose to 321 on Mon­day, while three new deaths lifted the to­tal to 13. San Ma­teo re­ported 143 cases, San Fran­cisco 131, Alameda 122, Con­tra Costa 71 and Marin 38. Alameda an­nounced its first death from the dis­ease Mon­day, lift­ing the to­tal fa­tal­i­ties in the Bay Area to 14.

As those num­bers con­tin­ued to rise, New­som an­nounced the state had in­creased its pro­jec­tion about how many hospi­tal beds would be needed to ac­count for the cri­sis to 50,000 new beds — a stag­ger­ing num­ber, con­sid­er­ing the state’s 416 hos­pi­tals cur­rently have a ca­pac­ity of about 78,000.

About 30,000 of that ca­pac­ity can come from ex­ist­ing hos­pi­tals, by con­vert­ing build­ings on their cam­puses or park­ing lots to hospi­tal tents, or by squeez­ing more beds into cur­rent fa­cil­i­ties, New­som said. The ad­di­tional 20,000 beds needed to meet the gap will have to come from tem­po­rary sites and ho­tels, in ad­di­tion to a 1,000-bed U.S. Navy hospi­tal ship that is headed to Los An­ge­les, New­som said.

Of­fi­cials are also work­ing to gather 1 bil­lion med­i­cal gloves, 500 mil­lion N95 masks, and 200 mil­lion face shields, the equip­ment first re­spon­ders need to pro­tect them­selves from the virus. New­som said Cal­i­for­nia and other states had been un­nec­es­sar­ily com­pet­ing over avail­able equip­ment, lead­ing to price jumps.

“Peo­ple are trip­ping over them­selves to make deals that are ul­ti­mately raise the cost of th­ese sup­plies,” he said.

The gover­nor thanked the pri­vate sec­tor for chip­ping in, say­ing that Tesla founder Elon Musk had de­liv­ered on his prom­ise to send 1,000 ven­ti­la­tors to Los An­ge­les and that 25 providers had told the state they wanted to help 3D print masks and other equip­ment.

New­som spoke just af­ter Trump’s daily press con­fer­ence, in which the pres­i­dent said he wor­ried that “the cure could be worse than the prob­lem” — sug­gest­ing that eco­nomic dev­as­ta­tion caused by poli­cies forc­ing Amer­i­cans to stay home could end up hurt­ing the coun­try more than the virus it­self. He said he and fed­eral of­fi­cials were still de­cid­ing whether or not to con­tinue urg­ing peo­ple to so­cially dis­tance them­selves be­yond the next week, adding that “I’m not look­ing at months” to keep those prac­tices in place.

New­som, how­ever, pointed to China and South Korea’s ex­am­ple fight­ing the dis­ease to sug­gest that “we are look­ing the next eight weeks, on our curve, maybe the next eight to 12 weeks, to ad­dress this surge.” He didn’t spec­ify whether Cal­i­for­ni­ans could be forced to stay home for that en­tire pe­riod.

Many more states have fol­lowed in Cal­i­for­nia’s foot­steps is­su­ing stay-home or­ders, and al­most 4 in 10 Amer­i­cans were be­ing told not to leave their homes ex­cept for es­sen­tial rea­sons by Mon­day evening.

The state is al­ready see­ing eco­nomic fall­out from the pan­demic: Over the last week, about 106,000 peo­ple a day have sub­mit­ted un­em­ploy­ment in­surance claims, New­som said, a stun­ning in­crease from the typ­i­cal av­er­age of 2,500 daily claims be­fore the cri­sis.

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