As the United States continues to break new coronavirus records, images taken in America’s most populated county show the jaw-dropping impact of the virus gripping the nation.
Los Angeles County, which is home to 10 million residents, has seen daily confirmed cases more than double in the last two weeks to nearly 2900.
Hospitalisations have topped 1100 - a rise of 30 per cent in that period.
Incredible scenes taken at the city’s famous Dodger Stadium show thousands of cars queuing - not for a baseball game but for Covid tests at a makeshift clinic.
The cars take up six lanes of traffic in huge queues that appear to circle out of the stadium and along an adjoining road.
The testing clinic has been in place for several months, however the record number of cases has led to a spike in the number of tests in the city and a plan to expand testing to more than 30,000 people per day.
The region imposed new restrictions on businesses on Tuesday (local time) and is readying plans for a mandatory curfew for all but essential workers if coronavirus cases keep spiking.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday urged residents to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread.
This is what coronavirus panic looks like. Tonight at LA's Dodger Stadium they're not going to the baseball anymore they're lining up for hours to get tested. 252,651 in U.S. dead so far. President Trump said it will go away "like a miracle." pic.twitter.com/LyRqcbqS4T
— Robert Penfold (@rmpenfold) November 17, 2020
“This is a different kind of moment, a new level of danger,” Garcetti said.
“If we don’t make these decisions now, there really is only one outcome: We will almost certainly have to shut things down again. And more people will get sick and die.”
He advised residents to avoid indoor gatherings, wear masks and to “assume everyone you encounter outside your home is infectious”.
The county issued new restrictions ordering non-essential retail businesses to limit indoor capacity to 25 per cent and restaurants to 50 per cent capacity outdoors. Restaurants already are not allowed to serve customers indoors.
The U.S. is breaking new infection records every day and averaging more than one COVID-19 death every minute.
L.A. is in a very dangerous situation. I am calling on every Angeleno to take action to save lives and stop the spread of this virus.
— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) November 18, 2020
All those businesses must close at 10pm. The changes take effect Friday.
Additionally, services at salons and other personal care businesses may only be provided by appointment and customers and staff must wear face coverings.
Services such as facials that require customers to remove their face coverings are not permitted.
All gatherings must be outdoors and limited to 15 people from no more than three households.
‘It’s disappearing’: Donald Trump’s constant virus claim
In his first speech after being released from hospital following his Covid diagnosis last month, US President Donald Trump claimed the highly-infectious virus would “disappear”.
“It’s going to disappear. It is disappearing,” he said.
It’s a claim he has made at least 38 times since February - but the latest data shows the virus is far from ‘disappearing’.
The US has more infections than anywhere in the world, with a staggering 11.36 million cases and 248,000 deaths.
Trump faced yet another wave of criticism after this week claiming credit for a vaccine breakthrough in a trademark flurry of tweets.
He did so while branding the coronavirus the “China Plague” and defiantly claiming he won the US election in a separate tweet.
Announcing trials of a Moderna vaccine had been 95 per cent successful, Mr Trump called on all historians to “remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!”
Earlier this month, a former White House staffer on Trump’s coronavirus taskforce lambasted his “horrifying” response to the pandemic.
Another Vaccine just announced. This time by Moderna, 95% effective. For those great “historians”, please remember that these great discoveries, which will end the China Plague, all took place on my watch!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2020
Appearing on 60 Minutes, former Homeland Security adviser to Vice President Mike Pence Olivia Troye revealed how she became disillusioned over Trump’s continuous downplaying of the virus despite repeated warnings of its severity by the US’s top medical experts.
She said Mr Trump’s handling of the pandemic, which has led to over 11 million known cases, has led to “too many” preventable deaths.
“We shouldn’t be in this situation we’re in today,” she said.
- with Associated Press