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LA mayor says city is likely 5 days away from coronavirus reaching NYC-level

 LA mayor says city is likely 5 days away from coronavirus reaching NYC-level
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Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday that if trends in his city continue, coronavirus cases could double every two days, and within five days the city would be on par with New York's outbreak. 

“We will be where they are,” Garcetti said, according to The Associated Press. “We will have doctors making excruciating decisions. We will be trying to figure out what we do with that surge, how to get ventilators, where to find beds.”

Los Angeles County, which has more than 10 million residents, saw 678 new cases over the last 48 hours, bringing the total to 1,500. More than 360 people have died of coronavirus in New York City, which has 26,000 cases of the virus. 

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LA County residents got an emergency push alert to their phones Friday evening encouraging them to stay home, and notifying them that beaches and trails had been closed. 

"We need your help to slow the spread of COVID 19," the alert read. "Stay home this weekend and weekdays until April 19."

Garcetti also said the city was preparing to up enforcement of social distancing and business closures. One possibility is shutting off power to nonessential businesses that refuse to close.

He said that “99.99 percent of this can be done without any criminal penalty, but we are prepared if anybody is an outlier.” 

LA is just one major U.S. city bracing for a spike in coronavirus cases and working to expand its hospital capacity. The Mercy hospital ship on Friday docked in the Port of Los Angeles where it will provide care to non-coronavirus patients, and the military is providing eight field hospitals with room for 2,000 patients.

Officials across the country are worried about a shortage in hospital space as well as critical medical supplies needed to treat coronavirus as cases increase. Hospitals and health care providers already say they don’t have enough of the supplies needed to protect doctors and nurses, and governors have been critical of the Trump administration's actions on the issue.