Fear of California Being the New Italy

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It begins each day in the early afternoon: Patients stream into hospitals with fevers, shakes, chills and breathing problems. In Italy, the latest country hardest hit by the new coronavirus, it’s been happening seemingly like clockwork.

“It’s really hard to see so many people sick at the same time,” Dr. Roberto Cosentini, a doctor in the northern city of Bergamo near Milan, said in a podcast for emergency room physicians. “It’s like a regular daily earthquake.”

Is this what’s in store for California?

More than 2,600 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the Golden State and 55 people have died of the respiratory disease. That’s a far cry from the 69,000 cases and 6,820 deaths reported in Italy.

“We are in a grave crisis,” warned Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County’s health officer. “Unless everyone does their part and follows the county’s shelter-in-place order and the governor’s Safer at Home order, we will be facing an Italy-type catastrophe very soon,” he said in a statement released Monday night.

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