L.A. County reports 9 new coronavirus-related deaths as cases explode to more than 1,200
As both the number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in Los Angeles County rose by more than half Thursday, public health officials warned that the trajectory of new infections would likely grow dire in the coming weeks. .
Health officials reported nine new deaths, bringing the death toll to 21. Officials also reported 421 more confirmed cases of the virus, for a total of 1,229, an increase of 52% over Wednesday.
“There is no projection in which a couple weeks from now, we’re doing fine,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Thursday night. "... A week or two from now, we will have images like we’re seeing in New York here in Los Angeles.”
New York, the national epicenter of the coronavirus crisis, has had 385 deaths, more Los Angeles News than four times as many as California. Hospitals there need thousands more ventilators to keep the most serious COVID-19 patients breathing.
Of the people in Los Angeles County who tested positive, 253 — or roughly 1 in 5 — were hospitalized at some point, said Barbara Ferrer, director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health.
If each person who has tested positive for the virus infected two others, Ferrer said, “within a few weeks there could be over a million people that would be infected in L.A. County.” Los Angeles officials have ordered all those who tested positive for COVID-19 to self-isolate, along with those in close contact with the infected.
Staying home and practicing social distancing in public places could help slow the spread of the virus, creating “one less bed, one less person who’s suffering in a hallway, one less doctor who has to decide who lives and who dies,” Garcetti said.
Officials did not disclose any information about the nine people whose deaths were reported Thursday; in some cases, family was still being notified, they said.
Two deaths previously reported by the county have been dropped from the total. One was found to be a resident of a different county and the other, a Lancaster teenager, may have died of other causes.
Earlier this week, health officials cautioned residents that as testing capacity increased throughout Los Angeles County, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus would rise.
After conducting limited testing in the first weeks of the outbreak, city and county officials announced Monday that they had partnered with Seegene Technologies Inc., a South Korea test kit manufacturer, to buy and process 20,000 new tests for the coronavirus.
The United States has surpassed Italy and China in having the most confirmed coronavirus cases, according to a global case tracker run by Johns Hopkins University. By Thursday afternoon, the U.S. had reported more than 82,400 cases, above 81,700 in China and 80,500 in Italy.
Italy still tops the list of countries with the most coronavirus deaths, reporting more than 8,200. Spain has reported more than 4,100 deaths, and China more than 3,200.The U.S. has reported more than 1,100 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
President Trump told governors in a letter Thursday that the Press Release Distribution Services In Los Angeles federal government is working on new standards for categorizing counties as high, medium or low risk. Trump said the plan would involve “robust surveillance testing” to “monitor the spread of the virus throughout the country.”
“There is still a long battle ahead, but our efforts are already paying dividends,” he wrote. “As we enhance protections against the virus, Americans across the country are hoping the day will soon arrive when they can resume their normal economic, social, and religious lives.”
The letter is a further sign that Trump is eager to relax federal guidelines on school closures and limiting social gatherings in order to boost the stalled economy. Public health experts have warned that the president is moving prematurely and there’s not enough information to show that the pandemic’s progress has slowed.
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