“The anticipated surge from the holiday gatherings has begun,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Monday. While the daily 9142 new cases recorded in the region on Monday was less than half of the record highs seen in recent weeks, Ferrer said the low number reflects the closure of many testing sites and a delay caused but the holiday.
Ferrer reported that current test positivity rate in the county is 21%. That means in 5 people tested in the county is coming up positive. “Community transmission rates are so high that you run the risk of transmission whenever you leave your home,” she said.
One in five residents currently tested is infected with COVID-19. Your bubble is not as safe as you think it is. Don't meet up with those outside your household. pic.twitter.com/JVE5ZfhrOy
— LA Public Health (@lapublichealth) January 4, 2021
“Everyone should just stay home whenever possible,” recommended the public health director, and “avoid any non-essential activities. We suggest you take a break from shopping.”
Ferrer gave a frightening glimpse into what may lie ahead. She noted that the current 7-day average of daily cases is about 15,000. That means in two weeks the number of Covid patients hospitalized will rise from the roughly 7,600 now to as high as 9,000 a day. Using the formula that has proved accurate throughout the pandemic, that would mean more than 175 people could be dying per day from the virus. “We may very well be on our way to weekly death tolls of 1000 or more,” said Ferrer.
“The worst is almost surely ahead of us,” agreed Los Angeles County Health Services Director Dr. Christina Ghaly.
“Hospitalizations are at highest number we’ve seen yet during the pandemic, and it just continues to grow and grow,” said Ghaly, who oversees four L.A. county-run hospitals. Three-quarters of the patients in ICU are there because of Covid, she said.
“Many hospitals have reached a point of crisis and are having to make hard decisions about critical care,” reported Ghaly. She then tried to drive home the point that every Angeleno, whether at high risk or not and regardless of political views, needs to wear a mask.
“This isn’t just about you,” said Ghaly pointedly. “The facts are the facts and they are grounded in science. Wearing a mask doesn’t just protect you. It protects those around you.
“Wearing a mask is not a statement about how you feel about your own health and your own vulnerability,” continued Ghaly. “I’m not asking you to wear a mask for yourself. It’s not about you; It’s about other people around you, Please show others the life-saving courtesy and wear a mask whenever you are around others.”