On Monday the State of California officially reported that more and 15,000 of its residents have died from Coronavirus. This comes as daily deaths have been dropping in the state, but that number still remains stubbornly higher than were it was at the beginning of July.
For comparison, the flu generally kills about 6,000-7,000 Californians each year. In 2018, 6,917 people died in the state from the flu, according to the CDC. That means the coronavirus has thus far been twice as deadly as the flu, and we haven’t even entered flu season yet.
Health experts worry about a “twindemic’ — meaning an outbreak of the flu during the COVID-19 pandemic — could overwhelm hospitals and greatly increase the mortality rate for both diseases. There is also concern about the spread of COVID during the upcoming winter holidays. In fact, U.S. flu cases tend to spike in January and February, after those holidays.
What this means for theaters and film and TV production in the state is anyone’s guess. But with some health officials, like those in L.A., waiting to see if there is a post-Labor Day spike in numbers, it seems increasingly unlikely that the state will open before the winter holidays, and increasingly more likely it may be early March before all restrictions are lifted.
For instance, the state’s director of health and human services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, strongly hinted next week that San Diego may need to close back down again as numbers there rise. That would mean movie theaters in one of the state’s largest counties would also have to re-shutter.
The grim California milestone comes on the day the United States is set to see 200,000 deaths from the virus. Globally, the coronavirus has taken close to 1 million lives. That means the United States, with 4% of the world’s population, has seen 20% of all fatalities from the virus.
An analysis of CDC data from 2014-2017 shows coronavirus is very likely now the third leading cause of death nationally, behind only diseases of the heart and malignant neoplasms, or cancerous tumors.
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