LA COVID-19 spreads the elderly, people of color very hard

The December rise of COVID-19 has spread widely in communities in Los Angeles County, reaching more lives than ever before and making the chances of being exposed to the virus more likely than ever.

The new daily cases have reached difficult levels to understand, including one day this week, when more than 20,000 new cases of COVID were reported in the county. It is estimated that one in 80 people in LA County is now infected with the virus; this is much worse than at the end of September, when scientists calculated that one in 880 inhabitants of the county was infectious.

The last reminder of the spread came on Thursday, when Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said his 9-year-old daughter, Maya, had given positive results. Both Garcetti and his wife gave negative results, he said.

Garcetti said he did not know how his daughter became infected. “We don’t have mixed households,” he said. “There is no behavior to engage in that does not strictly adhere to the protocols of our health officials.”

But there is also a grim pattern to spread, with some parts of the county being pursued relentlessly.

The elderly and people of color are disproportionately hit by the latest wave.

The director of public health in LA County, Barbara Ferrer, warned that the weekly number of deaths in qualified health care institutions is starting to increase, although it did not reach the level early in the pandemic.

And while the mortality rate among white residents remains stable – from one to two a day to 100,000 white residents – the mortality rate for Latino, black and Asian residents is rising. Among Latino residents in the last four weeks, for example, the death rate has risen from 1.4 daily deaths to 100,000 Latino residents to 4.5 daily deaths.

Latino communities have a higher risk of disease for several reasons. Members tend to be essential workers who have to go to retail stores, factories and other sites, rather than work from home, increasing the chances of coming into contact with an infected person. Some Latino neighborhoods are more densely populated, making it easier for the virus to spread.

Among black residents, the mortality rate has risen from less than one death to 100,000 black residents to more than three deaths per 100,000.

And among Asian residents, the mortality rate has risen from 0.5 deaths per 100,000 Asian residents to three deaths per 100,000.

The increasing number has a negative effect. The availability of intensive care beds in Southern California reached 0% on Thursday, and officials warned that hospital conditions are expected to continue to erode if the coronavirus spreads uncontrollably.

California now has an average of 203 COVID-19 deaths a day over a seven-day period and 35,200 cases a day – both records and both quadruple the number since mid-November.

Younger adults spread the virus the most, officials said, but it is the older adults, when they become infected, who die at the highest rates.

“This is a preventable tragedy, because the most vulnerable to serious illness caused by COVID-19 can be protected from everyone else when we wear our face covering, keep our distance, wash our hands frequently and avoid mixing with non-household members, ”Ferrer said. .

It is believed that much of the current growth is related to Thanksgiving gatherings that have led to a major spread of COVID. Officials now hope to avoid repeating this as the end-of-year holidays approach.

“I’m scared,” Dr. Clayton Chau, a health officer and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, said Tuesday. “I’ve never been so scared of Christmas and New Year in my life as I am now.” because … I can’t imagine what it would be like after the holidays if people don’t listen, if people don’t comply, if people defy and reunite ”.

If there are more super-widespread events on those holidays, the impact will continue to be felt unevenly.

This is because people living in the poorest areas of LA County are also more likely to die from COVID-19.

“The mortality rate among people living in areas with fewer resources is now four times higher than that of people living in areas with the most resources,” Ferrer said. “And unfortunately, this gap also seems to be widening.”

“The growing gap is a strong reminder that many of our key workers are black and brown, and many are unable to work telework or stay home,” Ferrer said. “Many work in low-wage jobs, and many live in uninsured neighborhoods.”

Ferrer called on companies to fully implement safety rules to protect workers from COVID-19, including the provision of personal protective equipment and compliance with infection control measures.

“And we need every resident to protect our essential workers by following the rules. That means always wearing a face that covers and keeps your distance from others, ”Ferrer said.

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