Food trucks sit in a parking lot next to an empty school in Los Angeles after California issued a stay-at-home order due to COVID-19 in Los Angeles, California, US, March 23, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti warned on Tuesday that the worst of the coronavirus pandemic was still to come and local residents should prepare for more loss of life.
Garcetti noted at the daily press conference that the city could see a situation similar to the outbreak in New York City in the coming six to 12 days, saying, "The peak is not here yet. The peak will be bad. People will lose their lives."
He urged people to follow the city's "Safer at Home" emergency order, which requires local residents to stay in their residences in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We're all safer at home, and that's not a suggestion. It is the law," said Garcetti, "refusing to follow it isn't brave or funny. It's stupid and could wind up killing you or someone else. "
Garcetti also urged nonessential businesses to comply with orders to close, saying those businesses violating the rules would face misdemeanor penalties, citations, fines and the possibility of the city Department of Water and Power shutting off utility service.
He shrugged off the idea that restrictions might be eased quickly, saying that local residents should be "prepared for a couple months like this."
"I know we're all anxious to return to our routines, to see the people we love and visit the places that make this city home. But please take this health pandemic seriously, stay home and practice physical distancing. Every single choice you make could save a life or risk one," he tweeted.
Meanwhile, according to California Governor Gavin Newsom, the hospital ship USNS Mercy is scheduled to arrive at the Port of Los Angeles this weekend to aid coronavirus response. The ship, carrying more than 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff, will serve as a "referral hospital" to treat non-COVID-19 patients.