A death #Every10Minutes: LA begs revelers to avoid NYE gatherings
Los Angeles (AFP)

"A mother," "a cancer patient," "someone who loved the rain": Los Angeles health officials tweeted every 10 minutes Thursday to mark the deaths of a coronavirus victim, as they implored people not to go out on New Year's Eve.

"#Every10Minutes someone dies of COVID-19 in LA County. People who were loved and will be missed," said the first post at the stroke of midnight Thursday.

"Until we slow the spread, the next person to tragically pass away could be someone you know."

The warnings come amid fears that residents of Los Angeles -- one of the main centers of the coronavirus pandemic, with hospitals reeling from record cases -- may hit the streets and party at the end of 2020.

"This is a 24 hour campaign that began at midnight last night and will end at midnight tonight," the county public health department told AFP.

"We want to highlight the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our community; more than 10,000 people passing away this year, and all were loved by and loved others."

Among other victims highlighted were "the father that rode the bus every day to work" and "the gas station attendant that always had a smile."

Each post ended with a reminder: "Please stay home tonight. Slow the spread. Save a life."

While enforcement has rarely been visible, Mayor Eric Garcetti has warned that city police will patrol to stop and sanction any major gatherings.

But parties continued to be advertised online, including one hosted by Spankys promising a "very-low key affair" -- complete with instant Covid-19 testing -- that claims to be sold out.

The city attorney's office has requested New Year's Eve events be removed from event organizing website Eventbrite.

Los Angeles, the nation's most populous county with 10 million residents, has seen more than 750,000 cases and 10,000 deaths.

It remains under restrictive measures including restaurant closures and nighttime curfews, along with the rest of southern California.