July 28, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Alarming L.A. spike in coronavirus cases: 2,551 in one day

In a troubling pattern, Los Angeles County has reported another day of sharply increased coronavirus cases.

On Wednesday, 2,551 new COVID-19 cases were recorded, the biggest total in months, underscoring of how the Delta variant is rapidly spreading among those who have not been vaccinated.

Officials have expressed growing alarm over the spread. The positivity rate now stands at 5.2% in Los Angeles County; a month ago it was only 0.7%. With Wednesday’s tally, county health officials report that cases have increased twentyfold over the last month.

The spike comes after L.A. County over the weekend begin requiring people to wear masks in indoor public locations.

In the last week, California has reported an average of 3,671 new cases per day — more than quadruple the number from a month ago.

People who have been vaccinated have strong protection against even the Delta variant, but those without vaccinations are at highest risk.

“This [masking] just levels the playing field. It does provide protection for everyone,” L.A. County health officer Dr. Muntu Davis said last week.

The Delta variant is believed to be twice as transmissible as the conventional coronavirus strains. Since its presence was confirmed in California in April, Delta has rapidly become the state’s dominant strain, accounting for 48.8% of all cases analyzed in June.

About 60% of Californians now live in a county that either recommends or requires indoor masking for all individuals, including those vaccinated for COVID-19.

Officials hope that masking up in indoor public areas will slow the spread — but it will take weeks to know for sure. L.A. County officials have said they could impose more restrictions if conditions worsen, but they have not provided details.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state is “committed to addressing this latest increase in the number of new cases” but also “committed not to imposing new restrictions.”

Just this week, Santa Barbara, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, Santa Cruz, Ventura, Lake and San Joaquin joined the list of counties asking even fully vaccinated individuals to wear face coverings as a precaution while inside places including grocery stores, movie theaters and retail outlets.

Most of the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as Sacramento, Yolo and Fresno counties, also now recommend that people wear masks indoors.

Despite the decisions being made at the local level, both the California Department of Public Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintain that fully vaccinated people can go without masks in most situations, given the high level of protection the shots provide.