Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday estimated that more than half of California’s 40 million people will be infected by the coronavirus during the next two months.
“We project that roughly 56 percent of our population …. will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period,” Newsom wrote in a letter to President Donald Trump, in which the governor requested the deployment of a Navy hospital ship to Los Angeles.
“In some parts of the state, our case rate is doubling every four days,” Newsom wrote.
Later, clarifying the statement, the governor’s office indicated that the 56 percent figure represented a potential infection level absent mitigation efforts.
“This projection shows why it’s so critical that Californians take action to slow the spread of the disease – and those mitigation efforts aren’t taken into account in those numbers,” the governor’s office said.
Thus far, 19 people have died from the coronavirus in California, and 958 cases have been confirmed, according to a Los Angeles Times tally.
The governor’s comments follow days of escalating actions, both state and local, to combat the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in California. Across the state, local authorities have requested or ordered a halt to operations of facilities where the public gathers, and have ordered people to “shelter in place” in their homes to curb the spread of the disease.
Newsom also requested $1 billion from Congress to assist California’s efforts to curb the pandemic.
Editor’s Note: Adds language 5th graf on mitigation efforts.