US COVID-19 cases hit over 14.5 mln, California to enter new stay-at-home order

Source: Xinhua Published: 2020/12/6 11:39:36

A pedestrian walks past posters on Thursday showing a healthcare worker wearing a mask in Los Angeles, California as the state becomes the second in the US to surpass one million coronavirus infections. Photo: AFP

 More than 14.5 million people in the United States have contracted COVID-19 so far, and the vast region of California will enter a new stay-at-home order on Sunday night.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has hit 14,577,003 as of 7:26 p.m. EST on Saturday (1226GMT), and its death toll reached over 281,000, according to data updated by Johns Hopkins University.

Daily infections in the country set a new record high of nearly 228,000 cases on Friday, according to the Associated Press.

The vast region of the US state of California, including Southern California and parts of Central California, will enter a new stay-at-home order on Sunday night, as many parts of the state have hit the 15 percent or lower threshold for intensive care unit (ICU) capacity amid COVID-19 surge, local health authorities said Saturday.

Based on the latest ICU data, the 11-county Southern California region which includes Los Angeles County, and San Joaquin Valley region in Central California, have dropped below 15 percent ICU capacity, said the California Department of Public Health in a statement.

It noted that the regional stay-at-home order will take effect in those two regions at 11:59 p.m. Sunday local time (0759GMT) and will remain in effect for at least three weeks.

The two regions are home to around 27 million people in the most populous state in the United States with a population of around 40 million.

In response to the recent rapidly increasing number of new cases and hospitalizations from the virus, California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced plans for the regional stay-at-home order to contain the pandemic based on hospital capacity, which is designed to be triggered when fewer than 15 percent of beds are available in ICU for a region.

In its latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC cautioned that the United States is experiencing "high levels of" COVID-19 transmission.

Noting that COVID-19 pandemic control requires "a multipronged application of evidence-based strategies," the CDC highlighted a series of measures including universal face mask use, physical distancing and avoiding non-essential indoor spaces.

"Compelling evidence now supports the benefits of cloth face masks for both source control (to protect others) and, to a lesser extent, protection of the wearer," it said.

"A community-level plan for distribution of face masks to specific populations, such as those who might experience barriers to access, should be developed," the CDC added.

Posted in: AMERICAS

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