COVID-19 cases and rates of transmission in Los Angeles County have been on a steady climb for over a month. Today, Public Health director Dr. Barbara Ferrer took the additional step of declaring that the trend has become a full-on coronavirus surge.
“This isn’t a blip any longer. This isn’t, ‘Oh, you know, we had one bad weekend. And, you know, we’re now getting back under control,’” the Los Angeles Times quoted Ferrer saying at a press briefing. “This is now a surge in our cases. And if it continues, it will be quite alarming to go into our coldest months seeing this level of increase in cases.”
While this current surge is, according to Ferrer, not yet quite as dramatic as the one observed in July, it nonetheless represents “real and alarming increases.” The number of new COVID-19 cases reported between November 1 and 7 was a full 38 percent greater than the number reported the previous week.
At his own briefing regarding the statewide pandemic surge, Governor Gavin Newsom offered a simple explanation for why cases are growing so rapidly again, after months of precautions.
“It’s for obvious reasons,” he said. “People are letting their guard down. They’re taking their masks off. They’re starting to get together outside of their household cohorts. They’re starting to see businesses reopen, and we’re starting, again, to see more people mixing.”
Between now and January, both Ferrer and Newsom noted, the coronavirus surge is expected to worsen. Colder weather means people who have been socializing outside their cohorts will start to do so indoors more frequently, and the COVID-19 pandemic will coincide with the typical cold and flu season.
Further, how families and individuals choose to celebrate Thanksgiving and the winter holidays could complicate the situation. If people travel or gather with friends and family outside their household, this new coronavirus surge is likely to grow.
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