As the city of Los Angeles has become the epicenter of COVID-19 in the United States and the number of cases and deaths continue to rise, the Los Angeles Public Health Department started a Twitter campaign on Thursday to highlight the fact that someone in LA County is dying every ten minutes because of the virus.
The LA Public Health Department is using the hashtag #Every10Minutes, making a powerful and emotional plea for people to stay home on New Year’s Eve. “Slow the spread,” the tweets also read. “Save a life.”
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 19.4 million people in the United States and more than 343,000 people have died from COVID-19 complications so far in the country. President-elect Joe Biden said on Tuesday, "Things are going to get worse before they get better.”
On Wednesday, Los Angeles hit the grim milestone of 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 deaths.
Los Angeles has specifically been hit hard by COVID-19's latest surge, with the LA Times reporting that hospitals are so overwhelmed they’re turning ambulances away and putting patients in gift shops while they wait for hospital beds to become available.
“No one would believe this is in the United States,” Scott Byington, a critical care nurse at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, told the LA Times. “Everyone is doing what they can do. It’s not that anybody is slacking. It’s just that it’s too overwhelming for everyone.”
California Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly said in a press briefing on Tuesday that LA is “stretching many of our hospitals pretty far.”
"But we know that that stretch has a limit before it breaks, before we push them into a situation where they're making the kind of decisions about resources and staff that I just walked through,” Ghaly said.
The LA Public Health Department didn’t immediately respond to BuzzFeed News’ request for comment. Its Twitter account is continuing to share descriptions of real people who are dying from COVID in the county.
“A ride-share driver that had water and gum in the back seat.”
“A friend you haven't talked to since middle school.”
“An abuelita who always tried to feed her grandchildren, even when they said they weren't hungry.”
Each tweet also includes the plea to "Slow the spread. Save a life."