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13 May, 2020 00:18

‘Summer cancelled’: Los Angeles County to extend stay-at-home order another 3 MONTHS, stoking fears of civil unrest

‘Summer cancelled’: Los Angeles County to extend stay-at-home order another 3 MONTHS, stoking fears of civil unrest

LA County will likely extend its Covid-19 containment measures until the end of July, a top public health official said, triggering a wave of outrage as residents declare “summer cancelled” and even predict riots in the streets.

The three-month extension to the county’s “safer at home” order was announced by Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Tuesday. Though she stopped short of issuing an official order, Ferrer said the timetable would not shift until officials see a “dramatic change to the virus and tools at hand,” stressing the need for increased testing capacity.

Our hope is that by using the data, we’d be able to slowly lift restrictions over the next three months.

The prospect of another three months under what many have dubbed “house arrest” was not received well online, however, with many reacting as if summer itself had been called off.

Some critics voiced concerns about the economic impact the continued restrictions will have, asking whether any small businesses would be left to reopen after another three months on lockdown, forced to either remain closed or operate on a limited basis.

“LA county extending stay at home orders for another 3 months – what businesses will even be left to open?” one user asked.

The extended stay-at-home order comes as LA County prepares to loosen some of its other measures to stem the spread of the virus, with beaches set to reopen on Wednesday under tight restrictions, prohibiting most activities beyond swimming and walking. But even with the rules relaxing, some netizens saw rising discontent in LA’s future, as hundreds of thousands of residents grow restless under the shutdowns and unemployment offices drown in new claims.

While California has set statewide criteria for reopening, last month LA County’s board of supervisors issued its own guidelines, which include meeting certain benchmarks for hospital, ICU and testing capacities, putting measures in place to protect the immunocompromised and continued social distancing. To date, LA County has tallied more than 32,000 cases of Covid-19 – over half of them nursing home residents – and some 1,500 deaths.

With deaths and cases continuing to rise amid the outbreak, some netizens were glad to see the lockdown extended, a few even casting blame on those who have protested the measures, arguing that their refusal to comply is why the order was needed in the first place.

As much of California and many other states proceed with plans to reopen, Dr Anthony Fauci – a top member on the White House’s Covid-19 task force – warned on Tuesday that moving too quickly risks a reemergence of the virus that “we will not be able to control,” stressing that fall could see a new outbreak if containment measures are repealed too quickly.

Still the world’s top Covid-19 hotspot, the US has confirmed more than 1.3 million cases of the illness and in excess of 82,000 deaths, overtaking several of the next worst-affected nations combined.

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