Despite heated opposition and vows of resistance from some restaurant owners and elected officials, there is increasing evidence that California’s latest stay-at-home order, including a ban on outdoor dining, worked to turn around a deadly surge of the coronavirus.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced last week that he was lifting the stay-at-home order that had been in place in most of the state since early December in light of the state’s declining coronavirus case and hospitalization numbers.
After weeks of overwhelmed hospitals and record death tolls, the improvements seemed sudden and surprising. But experts say they are the consequence of changes that Californians started to make two months ago.
In early December, Californians began moving around their communities at a rate 40% lower than what is typical — the lowest level since May — due to a combination of Newsom’s orders as well as a natural reaction to alarming case numbers and rhetoric from officials, said Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.
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