Los Angeles County reached a stark milestone in the coronavirus pandemic Thursday with the death toll soaring passed the 200 mark. As the overall number of cases climb, there are clear signs of outbreak hitting exposed populations including first responders, the homeless, the incarcerated and folks living in nursing homes and rehab centers. Yet disease has not spread as quickly across Los Angeles County as it has in other densely populated cities.
This week, the COVID-19 diseases surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States, Newsweek reported. Thanks to early and strict social distancing measures and shutdown orders, Los Angeles County has effectively slowed the spread of the disease locally. The outbreak is expected to peak in May statewide, while places such as New York appear to be peaking now. County leaders see this week as critical in curbing the local outbreak. If residents can avoid holiday shopping and gatherings, the peak of the outbreak in May would hopefully be muted. Experts warn that California may require a prolonged shut-down to continue to suppress the outbreak.
“Yes, it can mean that it stretches out longer, but that is a better price to pay than with unnecessary death,” Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, medical epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health told the Los Angeles Times. “We are really buying for ourselves the reduced peak. And that is a thing that will save us from a lot of unnecessary deaths because of an overloaded healthcare system.”
Another 25 people died in Los Angeles County due to COVID-19 over the last day, bringing the overall toll to 223 so far and the death rate to 2.8%. That is higher than the national average. Over the last week, coronavirus patients are dying at a higher rate — a full percentage point — for some reason. County health officials also confirmed 425 cases of the disease for a total of 7,995, said Barbara Ferrer, head of the county public health department. Ferrer said the rising percentage is concerning, but it could come down once more people are tested.
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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy: AP
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