Very light traffic is seen from the Red Line Train at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco on Thursday. Minimal passenger traffic is arriving or departing SFO as the Bay Area starts a three-week shutdown because of Coronavirus. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
March 19 (UPI) -- California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a statewide mandatory stay-at-home order Thursday night, making the state the first in the nation to order all of its residents to stay indoors during the coronavirus update.
The order will be in place from Thursday until further notice allowing few exceptions for California's some 40 million residents to make trips to gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, banks and laundromats.
Some 21.3 million California residents were already under some form of stay-at-home order that began on Monday when six counties in the Bay Area ordered residents to "shelter in place."
Newsom said he doesn't believe police enforcement of the order is necessary and that the directive will be imposed through the "social contract."
"We will have social pressure that will encourage people to do the right thing," he said during a press conference. "Just a nod, a look saying, 'hey, maybe you should reconsider just being out there on the beach, being 22 strong at a park.' It's time for all of us to recognize as individuals and as a community we need to do more to meet this moment."
The order was declared, he said, as the state is planning for about 56 percent of the population -- a number he called the attack rate -- to be infected by the virus. Of them, 20 percent will be hospitalized, exceeding the state's capacity by 19,543 beds.
The system, he said, consists of 416 hospitals and 78,000 beds, which can be surged by more than 10,000 but that leaves an excess of 10,000 people with COVID-19 needing to be hospitalized, but can't.
"We're looking at a delta, a gap, that requires about 10,000 beds and that's currently what we're up against," he said, adding that these figures are projections that can drop "if we change our behaviors."
"If we meet this moment, we can truly bend the curve," he said.
Gavin also sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Thursday requesting a U.S. Navy hospital ship named Mercy be stationed in the port of Los Angeles until Sept. 1 "to help decompress our current health care delivery system in Los Angeles region in response to COVID-19."
The ship will ensure the United States' second most populated city has the ability to address acute issues, such as heart attacks, strokes and vehicle accidents.
During a press briefing earlier Thursday, military officials told reporters Mercy and a second U.S. Navy hospital ship called Comfort were being readied for deployment to aid communities' coronavirus response.
"The location for Mercy has not been determined, but I can tell you that the goal is to have Mercy sailing out of San Diego harbor next week," said Rear Adm. Bruce Gillingham said.
Newsom's order came as Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered residents to remain in their homes until at least April 19.
"We are all safer at home," he said. "Staying in our residences, being aggressive about hygiene and practicing safe social distancing are the most effective ways to protect ourselves, the people we love and everyone in our community."
California, one of the states most impacted by the virus, has more than 1,000 infections and at least 18 deaths, according to a live tally by Johns Hopkins University.