Thursday, California Governor Gavin Newsom, in a letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, said experts were projecting that roughly 56 per cent of Californians, or about 25.5 million people, were expected to contract the coronavirus over the next eight weeks. Newsom’s claim comes in contrast to worldwide coronavirus cases at just over 256K.
Shorty after, the Governor issued a state-wide mandatory stay-at-home executive order. The order went into effect the same day and lasts until further notice. Before Newsom’s state-wide shutdown, California had reported nearly 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Thursday afternoon, according to a tracker from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. San Francisco issued a similar city-wide order days earlier.
Newsom’s orders allows essential services such as gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, banks, and laundromats to remain open. Dine-in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, “entertainment venues,” gyms, public events, and convention centers will be ordered to close.
“Essential state and local government functions will also remain open, including law enforcement and offices that provide government programs and services,” the state said.
Meanwhile, China and the epicenter of its coronavirus outbreak, Wuhan city, have reported no new domestic transmissions for the first time.
As the American economy is signaling several signs of distress, California’s shutdown may hamstring the world’s fifth largest economy. In addition, 2018 data shows the economy of California employs 17.7M people. The largest industry in California is Restaurants & Food Services which have shown to been some of the hardest hit from other citywide shutdowns measures.
At a press briefing at the White House on Friday morning, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict all non-essential travel across southern border in response to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump also invoked the Defense Production Act to speed medical supply production.
When asked if he’ll invoke a nationwide shutdown, Trump stated “I don’t think we’ll ever find that necessary.”