Amid a Bump in COVID Cases, There’s Fear L.A. Could See a Summer Surge

While ”breakthrough” cases among the vaccinate remain relatively rare, the number of unvaccinated people in the county is cause for concern

Los Angeles County health officials announced that the county hit its highest daily increase in coronavirus cases since mid-April on Thursday, due largely to the exceptionally contagious Delta variant. Of the 506 new infections, 245—or 44 percent—were attributed to the variant, KTLA reports.

“Given that we have large numbers of unvaccinated people in Los Angeles County, four million in total, including 1.3 million children not yet eligible to be vaccinated, another wave could become a very real possibility,” Los Angeles County public health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement.

When the mutant strain was first detected in L.A. in early April, it accounted for five percent of overall cases. The overall number of infections, however, has more than doubled since most coronavirus restrictions were lifted for vaccinated people on June 15, and the number of hospitalizations saw a slight bump in recent weeks.

And, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the building, an abundance of caution regarding the Delta variant caused public health earlier this week to recommend that vaccinated individuals mask up again in indoor public settings. Again, before anyone starts itching for a rally: It’s just a recommendation.

Of all the fully vaccinated people in L.A. County, 2,190 have tested positive for the virus, an increase of 1,257 since such “breakthrough cases” were first detected in late May—meaning that just 0.05 percent of the vaccinated have been infected. In that time, 192 fully vaccinated people were hospitalized, and 20 died—accounting for 0.004 percent and 0.0004 percent of all fully vaccinate people, respectively.

“It is true that past increases in hospitalizations have always led, a few weeks later, to a proportionate increase in deaths,” Ferrer said. “However, given the very high vaccination rates amongst older residents and many of those who have underlying health conditions, we’re hopeful that the increases in cases and hospitalizations that we’re experiencing do not result in a corresponding rise in deaths.”

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