Coronavirus: LA Mayor Garcetti warns of potential for 'second spike' in cases by year's end

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- On the heels of the announcement of sweeping new restrictions for residents and businesses in Los Angeles County, Mayor Eric Garcetti warned of a possible "second spike" in coronavirus cases in the region.

As researchers continue to search for a vaccination for the potentially deadly virus, the possibility of a resurgence in cases looms once restrictions are lifted, according to Garcetti.

"In these pandemics and these new viruses in the past, what will happen is the more success we have today in flattening that curve, it doesn't mean that you are in the future going to have less incidents, it actually can cause more later. All it does is help us manage this so that hospital beds and resources aren't overwhelmed and fewer people die. That's worth doing, we're doing that," Garcetti said in an interview with Eyewitness News. "But we could see after the summer months - after it's hotter, humidity also seems to reduce the incidents of this as well - that as early as October or November or December kind of the flu season time, we could see a second spike. The more people that don't get it now, they're going to be more susceptible later."

The restrictions announced Thursday, deemed the "Safer at Home" orders, call for nonessential businesses to close and residents to stay at home as much as possible to help contain coronavirus.

"These are acts of love for the people and the precious lives we want to protect," Garcetti said in an interview with "Good Morning America" on Friday.

WATCH: Mayor Eric Garcetti's full statement announcing "Safer at Home" order
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the "Safer at Home" order Thursday, which orders nonessential businesses to close and residents to stay home as much as possible to help contain the coronavirus.

The order took effect Thursday at midnight for most and Friday at 11:59 p.m. for workers in businesses. It will last through April 19, with the possibility of an extension.

"I think we all fantasize that our city, our state and our country has a protective moat - if we can just keep those people out, if we can somehow have a bubble around us, it's not coming," Garcetti said. "But the history is clear and this disease is clear. We have to take steps early. None of us have the adequate infrastructure for this, and our best shot is to push this out."

The order comes as the number of coronavirus cases in Los Angeles County continues to sharply increase. Earlier Thursday, health officials said Los Angeles County has 231 cases, including two deaths.

Gov. Gavin Newsom says state officials project that as much as 56% of the state's population - some 25.5 million Californians - could be infected over an eight-week period.

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On Friday, the death toll from COVID-19 passed 10,000 and infections exceeded 244,000 worldwide, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

Garcetti looked to ease concerns as some people scramble to buy guns and groceries, as well as withdraw money from their banking institutions.

"We know that this will be a series, I believe not just of weeks but of months, hopefully one or two months that we will be living with I know extremely stressful and different time, but there is plenty of food for now, during and after," Garcetti said. "There is no public safety emergency... this is a health emergency."

Several Northern California counties including San Francisco are under shelter-in-place orders as the region sees a sharp increase in cases. Garcetti said the COVID-19 crisis in Southern California is not as dire, but the Southland isn't far behind.

RELATED: Coronavirus California Outbreak: At least 6 Bay Area counties ordered to shelter-in-place due to COVID-19

"We are further behind the curve than up north in terms of incidents of COVID-19, but we're only about 4 or 5 days behind places like San Jose and Santa Clara County. They should reach their bed capacity within a couple days, if they're not already there today. We have probably, the best estimates we've crunched, are 6 to 9 days."

City and county officials are exploring the possibility of using places like the Convention Center for planning purposes, in addition to working with hotels to quarantine patients without severe symptoms.

"I have the power and the state has the power to be able to procure those spaces and places. I will not hesitate to use that," Garcetti said.
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