California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the coronavirus could infect more than 60,000 of the state’s 100,000-plus homeless population in the next 8 weeks

los angeles california homeless coronavirusFREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

  • The coronavirus disease could infect more than 60,000 of California’s 100,000-plus homeless population.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom said the infections could occur within the next eight weeks.
  • The number of confirmed cases in California have hit 917, and the state’s homeless residents are some of the most at risk of contracting the virus.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, could infect 60,000 people of California’s homeless population, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.

“Over the next eight-week period, we have modeled that of the 108,000 unsheltered Californians that are out on the streets, if you had an attack rate of about 56%, you’re looking at 60-plus thousand individuals that may have COVID-19,” Newsom said in a Facebook address to the state according to Reuters.

There are 917 confirmed cases of the virus in the state, with 17 deaths. As the coronavirus continues to spread, those living on the streets are more at risk of contracting infectious diseases, such as the coronavirus. Many don’t have the luxury of taking the recommended precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19, like handwashing and keeping a distance from sick people, as Business Insider’s Holly Secon reported.

 A homeless man in Santa Clara County died of the virus on Monday, the same day that a three-week “shelter in place” was ordered for the San Francisco Bay Area directing residents to remain indoors as much as possible.

The order exempts the Bay Area’s estimated 28,200-person homeless population. They are instead encouraged to find shelter until officials can find ways to house them.

An emergency coronavirus fund has been created to help California grapple with the spread of the virus. Newsom announced Wednesday that $100 million of that fund would go to local government to use to shelter and support homeless communities. Another $50 million would go to the state to put toward travel trailers, private vendors, and hotel rooms to contribute to temporary housing for the homeless. About 400 hotel rooms have already been leased in Oakland for that purpose. Two San Mateo county hotels have also been leased, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

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