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'If I get it, I die': homeless residents say inhumane shelter conditions will spread coronav

As California officials urge residents to avoid physical contact, residents worry the facilities are not prepared to cope with the outbreak

A homeless man huddles under a blanket in Los Angeles. Photograph: Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Southern California homeless shelter residents say long-running unsanitary and inhumane conditions now put them at severe risk of death amid the rapid spread of the coronavirus.

As California officials this week urged millions of residents to stay inside and avoid physical contact to slow the spread of Covid-19, people living in several overcrowded homeless shelters in Orange county say they continue to sleep in rows of beds within a few feet of each other, and that they often lack basic hygiene supplies and amenities.

The residents report a variety of serious problems, including empty soap dispensers, a lack of toilet paper, no hot water, broken sinks, no working thermometers, blood-stained walls and infrequent cleaning. They worry the shelters are ill-prepared to cope once the spread of the virus intensifies in the US.

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