California Enters Statewide Lockdown Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Illustration for article titled California Enters Statewide Lockdown Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Photo: Michael Heiman (Getty)

California’s governor announced a statewide stay-at-home order Thursday evening, making it the first U.S. state to go into lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by this novel coronavirus outbreak.

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This measure follows similar “shelter in place” mandates adopted by the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles earlier this week, as well as countrywide lockdowns in Spain and Italy. While other states have begun to instate widespread restrictions on public gatherings, school attendance, and nursing home visits, California’s decree is the strictest statewide regulation yet aimed at stemming the outbreak.

Effective Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s roughly 40 million residents to stay in their homes unless they’re performing “necessary activities.” “This is a moment we need to make tough decisions,” Newsom said at a digital news conference per the Washington Post.

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The nation’s total number of confirmed cases surpassed 10,000 Thursday, according to the New York Times, roughly double that of figures from earlier this week. At least 194 diagnosed patients have died, with several West Coast states like Washington and California among the hardest hit.

In a letter to President Donald Trump dated Wednesday, Newsom estimated that more than half of California’s population—25.5 million people—will likely contract the novel coronavirus within the next eight weeks based on the rate it’s currently spreading among the state’s communities.

“In the last 24 hours, we had 126 new COVID-19 cases, a 21 percent increase. In some parts of our state, our case rate is doubling every four days,” Newsom wrote.

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Gizmodo weekend editor. Freelance games reporter. Full-time disaster bi.

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DISCUSSION

I’m in one of the “shelter in place” counties and went to pick up a prescription today. I was amazed at how many people were out; driving, walking, in the store, etc., like it was a normal day. And then there are the people who just don’t seem to get the whole six feet thing. They just linger, paying no attention what so ever to everyone around them; blocking whole isles. More than once I stood and waited for an isle in the store to clear so I could get what I needed, and people are coming right up to me like it’s no big deal. I’m at the point where I’m just going to start putting my arm up and tell people to back the F off! Don’t come near me!

As a motorcycle rider, I’m frequently subjected to the mindless stupidity of others trying to kill me, but now, it feels like I’m surrounded by it everywhere. It’s like they are brainless zombies determined to get you. ...Stay the F away people!