California added 15,442 new coronavirus cases, hitting a new high as the state’s evening curfew kicks in Saturday night.
The cases topped Friday’s record of 13,005 infections, bringing the total to almost 1.1 million. The number of deaths increased by 86 to 18,643, state data showed. The increased patient load left California’s hospitals with just 1,921 intensive-case unit beds available, near the low in July.
A 10 pm to 5 am curfew will be imposed in most counties for a month to ease the rate of infection, affecting areas that encompass 37 million people, or 94% of the population.
Only 10 countries globally have more cases than California, where the number of cases now exceeds those in Mexico and Germany, which have been hot spots for the pandemic.
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Governor Gavin Newsom said earlier in the week that the curfew will stop nonessential work and gatherings to “flatten the curve again,” reflecting growing alarm among state officials as the third wave of coronavirus infections to hit the state gathers momentum.
The jump in California cases come as infections across the U.S. have surpassed 12 million, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended against all travel on cruise ships, citing the high risk of infection.
Officials have also urged residents to avoid travel and scale back Thanksgiving gatherings — or cancel them altogether. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti tweeted Saturday to remind residents to celebrate virtually or only with members of the same household.
The California order’s impact on businesses will be limited, and appears intended largely to prevent late-night socializing. Restaurants will need to close outdoor dining by 10 p.m., but they can continue offering takeout afterward. People working overnight shifts in factories, warehouses or logistics jobs won’t be affected. Grocery stores open 24 hours will be able to stay that way.