Covid case, rates rise in Los Angeles ahead of July 4 rallies – deadline
On July 2, 2020, as the first spring wave of Covid-19 wore off, local officials in southern California ordered the closure of virtually all beaches in Santa Barbara on the Mexican border. Cities in California have canceled the fireworks. Governor Gavin Newsom closed bars and imposed masks in public spaces. What officials couldn’t stop, however, were family gatherings and trips over the weekend of July 4.
The result was a more than 150% increase in daily new cases, from 570 on July 1, 2020 to 1,476 on August 2, 2020. Health officials have linked the increase to rallies held throughout the long week. -end.
A year later, the beaches and bars are open for the Fourth. The fireworks are there. Masks are no longer required in public. And health officials are worried.
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“Another wave could become a very real possibility,” Los Angeles director of public health Barbara Ferrer said Thursday. “We still don’t know if people vaccinated with the vaccines in the United States can transmit the Delta variant. Until more is known, individuals should add a layer of protection. This protective layer referenced by Ferrer is a mask.
Last Monday, Ferrer’s department grabbed national headlines when it backtracked on its own Covid guidelines, ‘strongly’ recommending masking in all indoor public places, due to the rapid spread of the Delta variant. The World Health Organization has done the same.
As of Friday, 549 new Covid-19 infections were reported in Los Angeles County. This is the highest number since mid-April of this year and on the second day in a row the figure topped 500. This prompted residents to get vaccinated and to exercise caution over the weekend of 4th July.
That 549 is more than double the average daily number the county reported in mid-June of this year, when state and county virus restrictions were lifted. Even more strikingly, it is almost identical to the 570 new daily cases reported on July 2, 2020. There are some differences, however.
The main one of them are vaccines. Almost 60% percent of eligible LA County residents were fully inoculated by July 1. This is much better than the 47% of the national population who are fully inoculated. But 4 million of the county’s 10 million people remain unvaccinated, many of them children. This is because the vaccines are only approved for Americans over 12 years of age.
While children have been less susceptible to Covid infections so far, the Delta variant is said to be 60% more transmissible. It is also believed to cause more serious symptoms.
At the end of June, Israel reinstated indoor mask requirements due to the spread of the variant. According to the Wall Street Journal, “About half of adults infected during an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Israel were fully inoculated with the Pfizer Inc. vaccine.” Israel is one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, with around 80% of citizens over the age of 16 fully vaccinated.
The country’s number of daily new cases produced by the outbreak was only 200, but that was up from the 10 daily cases seen during most of June. Delta appeared to plow the immunity provided by the vaccine and also plague those with stronger immune systems. According to the WSJ, “Children under 16, most of whom have not been vaccinated, made up about half of those infected.”
A similar scenario has occurred in the UK A recent study from Imperial College London found that, while infections rose in early June, the increase was mainly due to unvaccinated young people; Those who had been supposed to be less sensitive. The study found a 5-fold higher test positive rate in children aged 5 to 12 and adults aged 18 to 24 than in those aged 65 or older.
It’s not just cases that have increased in Los Angeles.The 7-day average rate of people testing positive for the virus remains very low at just 1.3%. At the beginning of July 2020, it was 10%. But the trend in 2021 is not good.
The positivity of the tests has increased over the past month. Testing positivity more than quadrupled from the 0.3% low seen in the first week of June. It has increased by over 50% in the last week alone. This trend is occurring even as the number of daily tests – until this week – has been plummeting. This could indicate an even greater increase in infections hidden by the smaller number of tests.
Hospitalizations due to Covid-19 have also increased, although they declined slightly on Friday, with state figures showing 275 patients infected with the virus in the county, up from 280 on Thursday. It was against 275 Wednesday and 255 Tuesday. There were 72 patients in intensive care due to Covid, up from 74 on Thursday. Los Angeles County reported five more Covid deaths on Friday, bringing the death toll from the virus to 24,492 across the county.
“Whenever we see a doubling of cases and a quadrupling of test positivity over a short period of time, it reminds us how easily the virus can spread,” Ferrer said.
The Delta variant is believed to be responsible for more than 26% of current infections in the United States. Ferrer said Thursday that 245 cases of the Delta variant had been confirmed in the county, nearly double the number last week. Considering the expense, the county only performs a limited number of the sequencing tests necessary to identify variants. Even with the small numbers, Delta became the most dominant variant detected in the county.
Given its increasing prevalence among the variants identified in the county, Ferrer said, it is clear that there is an “increasing circulation” of Delta within the county.
She again pointed out that existing vaccines offer strong protection against the variant, but breakthrough infections in fully vaccinated people do occur. And these people – although at low risk of becoming seriously ill – could potentially pass the infection on to others, especially the county’s millions of unvaccinated children.
Statewide, cases surpassed 1,000 on average last week for the first time since May. As of Friday, the daily number of new infections rose to 1,792, a number California has not seen in months. The positivity of the tests also fell from a low of 0.7% in early June to 1.5% on Friday. This led Gov. Gavin Newsom to tweet his own warning ahead of the fourth and a call for Californians to get vaccinated.
We know that the Delta variant is contagious and is on the increase.
We know that our hospitalizations are increasing and that most patients are not vaccinated.
We also know the science is clear: getting the vaccine protects you AND those around you.
To get vaccinated.
– Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) July 2, 2021