In Los Angeles County, “Covid is everywhere.” At this point, even going out of the house presents a high risk of contracting the virus. On Tuesday, coronavirus deaths reached 11,000 for the first time as a surge fueled by the holiday season overwhelmed America’s largest county by population. In fact, one in five LA residents tested for the virus showed positive results. Plus, the county braces for worsening conditions. In addition, LA achieved the ominous record after recording more than 1,000 new COVID-19 deaths in less than a week. During the last 2 days of 2020, LA counted 10,056 deaths.
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Following the ghastly death toll, the county public health department tweeted a warning on Tuesday. “Our actions over the next couple of weeks are a matter of life and death for many,” it tweeted. “Community transmission rates are high and any activity outside your home is high-risk.” In addition, risk of infection will increase in the coming weeks as more and more holiday celebrants who traveled might start showing symptoms.
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This is not a Hoax!
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer echoed the health department’s warning. She said that “Everyone should keep in mind that community transmission rates are so high that you run the risk of an exposure whenever you leave your home. Assume that this deadly invisible virus is everywhere, looking for a willing host.”
Meanwhile, public health officials say they still need to correct the notion that residents don’t need to wear masks. They have insisted that overwhelming evidence that masks are essential in preventing virus transmission. LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis pointed out to protesters who oppose wearing masks, including recent demonstrations at Westfield Century City mall. “We are in the midst of an unprecedented and dangerous surge,” she said. “Despite what protesters claim, this is not a hoax.
LA and Southern California remain under a stay-at-home order. The state government extended the order this week and issued new guidelines that contained more specific instructions. However, the precautions issued do not seem to faze the virus. More and more LA residents begin to contract coronavirus, and hospitals continue to fill with patients. Solis noted the “human disaster” during Monday’s public health briefing. She rued the fact that the surge in infections was something avoidable. Unless residents follow health restrictions, she said that the number of infections will continue to rise “beyond comprehension.”
Officials point to the last holiday celebrations as the main cause of the newest surge. Recent Christmas and New Year celebrations will produce newer cases that will spring this month. Employees returning to work also help spread the virus. In addition, high traffic locations such as retail stores and other job sites, including video production sets are danger zones. LA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, said that “If you had a workplace before where you had 500 workers, there might be one person who was infected, so the risk of transmitting it to a lot of people was lower. But now, with the prevalence of infection at 1% or higher, if they have 500 employees, maybe five are infected. And it magnifies the chances it can spread in the workplace.”
LA county now averages 184 deaths a day over the last week. This means that someone dies of coronavirus every eight minutes. With 13,500 cases a day, the county braces for even more infections in the following days. Ferrer reminded residents that “It’s better to be lonely than to be sick. It’s better to care for others by following all the rules than to end up passing along the virus to someone who gets hospitalized or even dies.”
Watch the PBS NewsHour video that reported on Los Angeles County, where ‘the virus is virtually everywhere’:
What is California, specifically LA county, doing wrong that they now experience a rise in coronavirus cases? With the worsening spread of coronavirus, what do you think should LA residents need to do to stay safe? Share your opinions on how the county can reduce its coronavirus incidences.