L.A. is seeing an explosion in COVID-19 cases reports The Guardian’s Sam Levin, writing:
Coronavirus cases are up across the state, with hospitalizations due to Covid-19 increasing 56% in just two weeks and some counties nearing surge capacity. Experts in LA are also particularly worried about a spike in hospitalizations, warning the county could run out of intensive care unit hospital beds within weeks. Across the county, there have been increasing delays for testing appointments despite the increasing jump in cases.
Human rights and labor groups meanwhile warn that the inequality in LA’s unemployment crisis is becoming increasingly severe as the partial and uncertain reopening plans are forcing low-wage and undocumented workers to return to dangerous jobs while limited government assistance dries up.
“This is the explosion we warned about,” said Andrew Noymer, associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine. “There is a lot moving in the wrong direction.”
There’s no simple explanation for the boom in cases in LA which, with more than 100,000 cases and 3,000 deaths, accounts for half of California cases. Local officials have blamed private family gatherings and nightlife activity, and have said the massive police brutality protests may have contributed to the spread (though epidemiologists say outdoor transmission is more rare and have not found clear surges linked to demonstrations).
Noymer said it was possible California’s pandemic is on a later timetable than New York, which suffered by far the worst outbreak in the US earlier this spring. California and LA began reopening in phases at the end of May right when the virus was rapidly spreading in the state, he said.
Still, he did not predict officials would return to a full shutdown akin to lockdown restrictions this spring: “That is going to be very unpopular.”