US sees its first statewide stay-at-home order as reported coronavirus cases jump past 13,000
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is ordering the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. CNN’s Dan Simon reports.
With more than half the country reporting deaths from coronavirus, state leaders are grappling with how to keep residents apart — and the virus from spreading.
As thousands more Americans are getting tested, the number of reported coronavirus cases has climbed to more than 13,000. At least 195 people have died.
On Thursday night, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay at home. The order — the first of its kind to address an entire state — will last until “further notice,” the governor’s office said. The state has had at least 995 coronavirus cases and 19 deaths.
And it won’t be regulated by law enforcement, Newsom said, but instead, by social pressure which will “encourage people to do the right thing.”
“Just a nod and a look saying ‘hey, maybe you should reconsider being out there on the beach,'” the governor said.
“There’s a social contract here. People I think recognize the need to do more and to meet this moment,” Newsom said. “People will self-regulate their behavior, they’ll begin to adjust and adapt as they have been quite significantly.”
The order came hours after President Donald Trump announced efforts were underway to create a vaccine for the virus, also adding the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was reviewing drugs approved for other uses as potential treatment.
But one of the country’s top health official says there’s still “no magic drug out there right now” and the best practice for Americans as of now still remains to avoid crowds.
“We’ve really got to adhere to the physical separation,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, with the National Institutes of Health, said Thursday. “You know them well now. Avoiding crowds, stay out bars, stay out of restaurants, stay out of places where there is a congregation of people.”
Other leaders stay away from similar orders
San Francisco paved the way for orders directing residents to stay put. Throughout California, similar directives went into effect by multiple counties this week, leading to the governor’s sweeping measures.
The orders still allow residents to step outside — as long as they are practicing social distancing — as well as take care of essential needs like grocery shopping, getting gas and picking up medications.
Meanwhile, in New York — where at least 5,298 people have tested positive for the virus and 32 have died — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has refrained from issuing similar orders but has encouraged residents to stay home.
“We are at near panic levels, so what you say and how you communicate is very important,” he told CNN Thursday. “Should everybody stay at home? Of course. Are we imprisoning people? No.”
The remarks came days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told residents to prepare for a shelter-in-place order.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp also announced Thursday he wasn’t issuing a statewide mandatory quarantine or ordering businesses to close.
“To stop the spread of coronavirus, we must follow the guidance from federal and state health organizations and leaders: regularly wash your hands, practice social distancing, protect the elderly and chronically ill, and stay home, especially if you are sick,” Kemp said.
The governor said Thursday he was encouraged by news coming out of the White House that “vaccine development and anti-viral therapies are moving quicker than I originally expected.”
FDA: Treatment options will likely take months
Trump said Thursday the federal government had “slashed red tape” to fast-track the developments of vaccines and therapies for the virus, adding there were clinical trials underway testing treatment.
“We’ve had some really good promise,” he said.
“We have a couple that we’re in really good shape on. And that’s for immediate delivery. Immediate, like as fast as we can get it. The FDA has also approved compassionate use for a significant number of patients,” Trump added.
The FDA said that while they’ve kicked treatment options into high gear, treatment for the virus may still be months away.
“Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll have more information that we’re really pushing hard to try to accelerate,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn said Thursday, “And that will be a bridge to other therapies that will take us three to six months to develop. And this is a continuous process — there is no beginning and end.”
He also said there is a vaccine trial currently being performed that is expected to take “12 months.”
“The FDA is committed to continuing to provide regulatory flexibility and guidance, but let me make one thing clear: the FDA’s responsibility to the American people is to ensure that products are safe and effective,” he said.
Medical supply shortages loom as more tests return positive
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in new guidance healthcare facilities that are facing a “crisis” should consider options to combat shortages, even if those options “are not commensurate with US standards of care.”
That includes using masks beyond their designated shelf life and re-using masks during encounters with different patients, cautioning however that not all types of masks can be reused.
As a last resort, the agency said health care providers could consider using “homemade masks” — such as bandanas or scarves — to care for coronavirus patients, ideally in combination with a face shield.
The guidance comes as hospitals and medical care workers have begun to sound the alarm on a rapidly vanishing inventory of supplies.
Governors highlighted those concerns to the President Thursday, many saying their main worry was that there isn’t enough personal protection equipment available in their states – like masks, disposable gowns and other supplies.
Trump responded that states should be working to get whatever equipment they need on their own and the federal government would help if it could.
“Try what you can — do the best you can to get what you can actually get,” Trump said.
Worries remain on looming shortages as health officials maintain the number of known coronavirus cases will continue to dramatically increase as more test results return.
“The number of test positives are increasing,” said Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. “That is a dramatically important signature that everyone is doing their job.”
Just in New York, Cuomo said Thursday morning 8,000 tests were done overnight.
“When you do 8,000 tests,” the governor said, “the numbers are going to go up exponentially.”
De Blasio said the city will need the federal government’s help in getting enough supplies to respond to those numbers.
“I said very clearly that for the month of March, we have the supplies that we need, the city has very strong reserves of the kind of supplies that I talked about,” he said. “It is going into April that I’m worried about. I don’t have the perfect day for you, we’re assessing all the time but it is a day, two weeks from now or three weeks from now where we must, by then, have had a very substantial resupply.”