Mayor Eric Garcetti warned Los Angeles on Tuesday that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic is still to come and that residents should be prepared for more loss of life.
Garcetti said L.A. could be six to 12 days from seeing similar numbers to the outbreak in New York City, where the death toll has dramatically increased in recent days.
“It’s coming,” Garcetti said. “The peak is not here yet. The peak will be bad. People will lose their lives.”
The mayor also rebuffed President Trump’s earlier comments that he wanted to quickly ease restrictions and said that Angelenos should be “prepared for a couple months like this.”
“I know that everybody is hopeful, and some are putting out that hope of us being back in churches by Easter or synagogues by Passover or restarting the economy in a couple weeks,” Garcetti said. “I think we owe it to everybody to be straightforward and honest. We will not be back to … that level of normal in that short period of time.”
Garcetti said that his office is still receiving daily reports of nonessential businesses that continue to operate as normal — behavior he called “irresponsible and selfish.”
He also announced a Safer at Home business ambassadors initiative that aims to help push greater adherence from nonessential businesses who aren’t complying with the city’s order to close.
Such businesses should also expect to get a warning call from local prosecutors before the city takes more aggressive action, including turning off their water and power, he said.
“The easiest way to avoid a visit from the city is to follow the rules,” he said.
Authorities also confirmed an additional 128 cases of coronavirus infection, bringing the county’s total to 662. Of those, 42% are in people ages 18 to 40, and 39% are in people 41 to 65.
At least 119 residents, or 18% of all positive cases in the county, have been hospitalized for the virus.