Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that the state was expecting to see peaks in cases and deaths this week and also announced new grants to financially assistant city residents in need.
California may experience a peak in new cases on April 17 and a peak in new deaths on April 19, Garcetti said, quickly warning that the peaks would only hold if the public continued to follow social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines.
The mayor looked back to the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 and said that two approaches at the time taken on by LA and San Francisco provided a window into different possible outcomes. Back then, San Francisco removed restrictions on face coverings and distancing, while LA kept restrictions on public gatherings and face coverings longer, the mayor said. As a result, San Francisco saw a quick uptick in new cases, while LA did not, according to Garcetti.
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Garcetti said proceeding with caution and continuing to be vigilant would lead to employment gains and the economy coming back quicker based on what happened over a century earlier.
The mayor also pointed to Japan when referring to a second wave and the dangers of lifting restrictions on public gatherings and face coverings too soon. Garcetti said that the public needed to prepare for a second and third spike and made mention of LA Unified School District announcing that schools would remain closed through the summer.
In addition to launching a website to help dispel rumors swirling around the virus outbreak, the mayor also said that in-need households in LA would be eligible for financial assistance with a new program.
The Angeleno Card will be distributed in the form of $700, $1,100 and $1,500 debit cards based on pre-COVID-19 household income and household size. The hours to apply online and via phone (213-252-3040) are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., designed not to provide those with access to internet access an unfair advantage, the mayor said. In addition, people with internet access were asked not to call in.
Those who qualify for the assistance program will have in-person appointments at community center to maintain social distancing, the mayor said.
In order to qualify, households must meet all of the following criteria:
- Households in the City of Los Angeles;
- Households with total annual incomes that fell below the federal poverty level prior to the COVID-19 crisis; and
- Households that have fallen into deeper economic hardship during the crisis because at least one household member has lost a job or experienced a reduction in income of at least 50%.
Immigration status will not be asked, nor will it be a factor in determining eligibility, the mayor said. In addition, households receiving public benefits, including unemployment insurance benefits, may still be eligible for the initiative, according to the website.
If the number of qualified individuals exceeds the number of available grants, the City of Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department will randomly select from the qualified individuals to determine which applicants will receive the Angeleno Cards.