California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered his state’s nearly 40 million residents to stay home in order to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus on Thursday night. On Friday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered New York residents to stay at home unless they are required for essential work.

At 1,095 cases and 21 deaths, California has both the third most reported cases and coronavirus deaths in the U.S., behind New York and Washington.

The unprecedented statewide order in California came after several San Francisco-area counties ordered a “shelter in place,” and will remain in effect until further notice.


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“This is a moment where we need some straight talk,” Newsom told reporters Wednesday. “As individuals and as a community, we need to do more to meet this moment.”

The “stay at home” order went into effect Thursday at midnight, but Newsom reassured the public they will not be arrested if they go outside.

“I don’t believe the people of California need to be told through law enforcement that it’s appropriate just to home-isolate, protect themselves,” Newsom said. “We are confident that the people of the state of California will abide by it and do the right thing.”

The order effectively shuts down all non-essential businesses, such as sit-down restaurants, gyms and large venues. Grocery stores, pharmacies and other “essential” businesses will remain open.

Newsom’s order came a day after he requested a U.S. Navy medical ship from President Donald Trump to help fight the virus.

“We project that roughly 56% of our state’s population — 25.5 million people — will be infected with the virus over an eight-week period,” he wrote Wednesday in a letter requesting the usage of the USNS Mercy hospital ship through September 1.

Those estimates are worst-case scenarios and do not factor the “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders currently in effect.

Those who do need to go outside for work or essential travel should maintain social distance from those around them. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends maintaining at least six feet of space in order to lower the chances of contracting the virus.

“Go about the essential patterns of life, but do so by socially distancing themselves from others and do so using a common sense,” Newsom said. “Home isolation is not my preferred choice, but it is a necessary one. This is not a permanent state; it is a moment in time.”

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