Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti shows a Memorandum with COVID-19 city departments guidelines, as he takes questions at a news conference in Los Angeles, Thursday, March 12, 2020. Garcetti closed City Hall to the public and banned all events or conferences on city-owned properties for more than 50 people. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
In an interview with Business Insider Wednesday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the 4 million-plus residents of his city should be prepared to confined to their homes for “at least two months, and be prepared for longer.”
Garcetti also spoke out against “false hope” in the face of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic.
[He] pushed back against “premature optimism” in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying leaders who suggest we are on the verge of business-as-usual are putting lives at risk.
“I can’t say that strongly enough,” the mayor said. Optimism, he said, has to be grounded in data. And right now the data is not good.
“Giving people false hope will crush their spirits and will kill more people,” Garcetti said, noting it will change their actions, instilling a sense of normalcy — and normal behaviors — at the most abnormal time in a generation.
“I think the main horrifying thing that I think is keeping every local leader awake is the projection of how many people will get this, the projection of what the mortality rate will be, and how many dead will have,” Garcetti said. “Will we have hundreds of thousands of deaths or tens of thousands of deaths? That’s what keeps us up.
“It will be our friends. It will be our family. It will be people who we love dearly,” he said. “And everything I do is through that lens.”
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Los Angeles was at 812 as of 2 P.M. Wednesday, up from 662 at noon on Tuesday. The number of coronavirus-related deaths stood at 13 on Wednesday, up from 11 on Tuesday. Before the pandemic was declared, Los Angeles County’s ICU beds were already at 90 percent of capacity.