Los Angeles County on Friday extended its stay-at-home and nonessential business closure orders through May 15, a little more than a week before it was set to expire.
The county has recorded 8,430 new COVID-19 cases, including 241 deaths, according to the county Department of Public Health. Officials said the numbers show the county has “flattened the curve” with social distancing practices but that lifting the order would quickly reverse any progress made. It was set to expire April 19.
“If you were to reduce physical distancing to the pre-health officer order levels, virtually all individuals in Los Angeles County, 95.6 percent per the model, would be infected by the pandemic by Aug. 1, 2020,” said Dr. Christina Ghaly, the county’s director of health services, according to Fox News affiliate KTTV-TV. “That number is starkly reduced, down to about 30 percent, if we maintain the current levels of physical distancing.”
Some, however, have still flouted the order and are choosing to gather in large groups. Defiant crowds were recently seen at so-called street takeovers where illegal stunt driving takes place and beaches, which were closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Closures of public spaces, including parks, hiking trails and beaches will stay off-limits through the order, which now requires anyone entering an essential business to wear a face covering.
The Public Health department also urged residents to avoid leaving their homes for groceries and medications and have the items delivered instead, according to the news outlet
The announcement comes as the Trump administration makes reopening the U.S. economy a top priority while some regions — like New York City — are still battling with the pandemic. He said he will convene an “Opening our Country” task force April 14, which will be comprised of doctors and business leaders.
“I want to get it open as soon as possible,” Trump told reporters at Friday’s briefing with members of the White House task force. “This country was meant to be open and vibrant and great.”
Fox News’ Michael Ruiz and Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.
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