California's COVID shutdown will last through Christmas

www.latimes.com
7 min read
fairly difficult
Roughly 240,000 Californians have tested positive for the virus in the last 14 days, and about 112 have died of COVID-19 each day over the last week.
For millions of Californians, the COVID-19 pandemic will provide a most unwelcome gift this Christmas: a wide-ranging shutdown imposed as the state grapples with its most massive and dangerous surge in infections and hospitalizations to date.

The restrictions that took hold at 11:59 p.m. Sunday across Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley will remain in place for at least three weeks, meaning those regions will not be able to emerge from the state's latest stay-at-home order until Dec. 28 at the earliest.

Five counties in the San Francisco Bay Area also announced last week that they were proactively implementing the new restrictions and planned to keep them in place until at least Jan. 4.

Combined, those regions are home to some 33 million Californians, representing 84% of the state's population.

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The timing of the rules is the latest blow, in a year full of them, for many businesses — which have been battered by coronavirus-related restrictions and hoped the holiday shopping season would throw them a desperately needed lifeline — and to the psyche of Californians, who for months have lived with the threat of the coronavirus hanging over their heads.

Officials, though, have said desperate times call for drastic measures. The number of new daily coronavirus cases has skyrocketed to a level that would have been unthinkable just weeks ago. Hospitals are already contending with an unprecedented wave of more than 10,000 COVID-19 patients, and the state is on the brink of recording its 20,000th death from the illness.

"Once people die, they're gone from our lives forever — and there's no way to measure that impact at all," L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a briefing Monday. "There's no value you really can place on a person's husband or daughter or their friend or their loved one. And every death is a tragedy, particularly those deaths that, in some ways, if we were all better at doing our part, we could be…
Luke Money, Rong-Gong Lin II
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