Today California will hit its peak in terms of the number of hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators needed to treat COVID-19 patients, with a peak in daily deaths on Wednesday, according to a popular model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
Although state officials continue to cite models that predict hospitalizations will peak in May, Health Secretary Mark Ghaly said Friday the peak may not be too different from current hospitalization levels.
- Ghaly, indicating the red dotted line: “This is actually signaling to us that our peak may end up not being as high as we actually planned around and expected, and the difference between what we’re seeing today in our hospitals may not be that much different than where we are going to peak in the many weeks to come.”
Both Ghaly and Gov. Gavin Newsom emphasized the red dotted line will rise if Californians stop practicing physical distancing. Nevertheless, the line suggests that California is experiencing “the better-case scenario we had always hoped for,” as Ghaly put it, raising questions as to when the state will begin to reopen.
- Newsom: “I know all of us are developing some anxiety and cabin fever and want to get out. … Let’s continue to hold the line. Give us a few more weeks to see where these trend lines go, and then we’ll be talking a lot more … when we can go back to some semblance of normalcy.”
Meanwhile, state economic trendlines are ominous. The Department of Finance announced in a Friday letter the state is spending $6 billion on its coronavirus response on top of the $1 billion of emergency funding already allocated, while Newsom asked Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi for $1 trillion in direct relief for states and local governments. Also on Friday, the governor’s chief economic and business adviser, Lenny Mendonca, stepped down to focus on his family and personal businesses, raising questions about who will guide the governor in rebuilding the economy after an unprecedented crisis.
The Bottom Line: As of 9 p.m. Sunday night, California had 23,287 confirmed coronavirus cases and 681 deaths from the virus, according to a Los Angeles Times tracker. (These numbers are different from those of the state Department of Public Health, which are updated less often.)