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LA on verge of shutting down again amid COVID-19 spike, mayor warns

Colleen Shalby, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

More than 136,000 coronavirus infections and 3,824 related deaths have been recorded in Los Angeles County, the bulk of the state's totals.

"If we were an independent country, Los Angeles County would have the 20th most cases in the world. Put differently, we have more cases in Los Angeles County than all of Canada," Garcetti said. According to Johns Hopkins University's coronavirus tracker, Canada has recorded more than 110,00 cases of the virus.

In the absence of a vaccine or medical therapies, officials have previously stressed the need for testing as the only true barometer of the virus' spread, and one of the few weapons available to fight against the illness. But amid a nationwide shortage in supply and high demands in Los Angeles County that have outpaced the availability of materials, officials are now shifting their message.

Over the past week, officials have increasingly emphasized that because a test result accounts for only a single day, it not foolproof in determining whether a person is truly negative for the virus. And in the time it takes for a person to receive a test result, the reality could change. This has always been true, but the message previously was one of widespread encouragement for the necessity of testing.

The shift in language comes as California reverses course on reopenings.

Gov. Gavin Newsom mandated a statewide order Monday for all counties to cease indoor operations at various businesses, including restaurants, wineries and zoos. More than 30 other counties, including Los Angeles, that had previously received that mandate were instructed to impose even stricter rules by shuttering indoor operations at hair salons and barbershops, nail salons and personal care facilities, fitness center, indoor malls and places of worship.


"The virus is not going away anytime soon," Newsom said.

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