A week ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, Gov. Gavin Newsom Friday issued another stern warning to residents about the dangers of public or family gatherings while blasting “lazy punditry” suggesting that hot weather will kill the coronavirus.
The warning came as the governor announced a 3.3% increase since Thursday in the number of people hospitalized with the virus, and a 4.4% daily jump in the number of people in intensive care units.
State figures show that the number of people hospitalized in California has risen more than 30% over the last two weeks.
“Hospitalizations going up. The number of people in ICUs going up. The number of people on ventilators going up,” Newsom said. “… We are in the midst of the first wave of this pandemic. We are not out of the first wave. This disease does not take a summer vacation. And let us disabuse ourselves that somehow, the lazy punditry that was out there, that somehow this is a seasonal disease and triple-digit weather will annihilate it. Look at the states that are seeing unprecedented record increases. There’s no correlations in that respect, quite the contrary.”
Major spikes in coronavirus have been reported in recent days in the hot-weather states of Arizona, Texas and Florida.
“So I cannot impress upon people more as you move into understandably a festive mode reflecting on the birth of Democracy and freedom and we celebrate our independence as a nation, that you do so responsibly,” he said.
Newsom reported that as of Friday, the seven-day average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus is 5.7% statewide, a number that has been slowly rising. In Los Angeles County, that rate was at 8.4% as of Thursday, a level not seen in the county since April.
Newsom warned that the rising numbers of cases and hospitalizations being seen now are going to translate into more fatalities in the coming weeks.
“… I cannot impress upon folks more the virulence of this disease, the nature of the transmission of this disease and how we are experiencing unprecedented grwoth in the total number of cases,” he said. “And you will see, mark my words … with the death rates, they’re lagging. You will see that these positivity rates going up in the last week or two, that in the next week or two you will start to see numbers increase not just in the hospitals … but you’ll start seeing that tragically in the number of lives lost.
“And it’s not just 80- and 90-year-olds that are losing their lives. It’s not just 65 years old and older that are getting positive test results back. So please, even if you don’t feel sick, you may be transmitting this disease.”
Newsom noted that some California counties are struggling with the virus more than others. The virus is spreading so rapidly in Imperial County that the state has asked the county to reinstate stay-at-home orders, because the hospital system in the area can’t handle the surge in cases.
The governor said the state has also put a hold on any further loosening of its health restrictions, meaning high-risk businesses such as theme parks and concert venues will be waiting much longer before being cleared to open.