California coronavirus prevention measures could last another 12 weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom says

California coronavirus prevention measures could last another 12 weeks, Gov. Gavin Newsom says

California scrambling to obtain virus protection gear (copy)

Gov. Gavin Newsom 

Californians should expect social distancing measures to last at least through April as the state fights coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday.

Californians have been under stay-at-home orders since Thursday to slow the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. It's a tactic designed to space new cases over time so the hospital system isn't overwhelmed, what's become known as 'flattening the curve.'

"We're trying to bend that curve, but we haven't bent it," Newsom said. "April for California would be sooner than any of the experts I talked to would believe is possible."

Newsom's comments come a day after President Donald Trump said "America will again and soon be open for business" as the dramatic measures taken to fight the disease have ground much of the country's economy to a halt. The president said he would like to see the country -- at least major portions of it -- open for business by Easter, on April 12.

Newsom said he could see the social distancing measures lasting as long as 12 weeks. All Californians, not just the elderly, need to be careful.

He noted the "tragic loss of life" of a teenager in Lancaster, which brought total number of California coronavirus deaths to about 40 Tuesday morning.

"Young people can and will be impacted by this virus. In fact young people are disproportionately testing positive in California," Newsom said. "This disease impacts everybody."

Half of all positive coronavirus cases in California are people between 18 and 49 years old, Newsom said, adding that 26 percent of positive cases are between 50 and 64 years old, while 23 percent are 65 and older.

Testing is still being prioritized for people with clear COVID-19 symptoms, medical professionals and first responders. The state still doesn't have enough reagents and swabs for coronavirus tests, Newsom said.

"Testing is still not close to where we need to be," he said.

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