Expert: California coronavirus cases are increasing more than expected


California is one of the few states where coronavirus cases and deaths are expected to increase faster than expected by researchers, according to the latest calculations from a widely used model of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Christopher Murray, director of the University of Washington Institute of Metrology and Health Assessment, said on CBS “Face the Nation” on Sunday that the institute’s latest projections suggested that the number of deaths at the national scale would reach 137,000 on August 4. It is now close to 80,000.

The situation is mixed in some of the most populous states in the country, he said.

“Some good news is coming from New York and New Jersey and Michigan, where deaths and the number of deaths are falling faster than expected,” he said. “Some other states where cases and deaths are increasing more than we expected – Illinois and then Arizona, Florida and California are examples. “

Researchers are now predicting that California could see more than 6,000 deaths from COVID-19 by the end of August, up about 1,420 from projections released Monday. This is the fifth increase in the number of projected deaths among the United States, after Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arizona and Florida.

The upward revisions “are the result of a combination of up-to-date data on deaths and daily cases, recent actions to alleviate the social distancing measures previously implemented and a steady increase in mobility levels in many places Said the researchers in notes published with the data.

California added 2,244 cases of coronavirus and 64 related deaths on Saturday for a total of 66,825 cases and 2,695 deaths. About 40% of the new cases – 907 – were reported by Los Angeles County, as were 45 of the new deaths, or about 70% of the statewide deaths.

L.A. County reported an additional 484 cases and 18 deaths on Sunday, bringing its total to 31,694 cases of coronavirus and 1,531 related deaths.

The continued increase has prompted public health officials to exercise caution, even though some recreational areas and businesses are allowed to reopen.

“The virus has not changed,” said Barbara Ferrer, county public health director, on Friday. “It can still spread easily, and it can still cause serious illness and death. “

In the final step towards easing restrictions, Long Beach will reopen bike paths and beach trails on Monday, as well as tennis courts and parking lots in public parks. Beaches and beach parking lots will remain closed.

People using the parks, trails and tennis courts should stay six feet apart and refrain from lingering or gathering in groups. Meetings and picnics are prohibited.

San Bernardino County reported its largest one-day increase in the number of new cases on Saturday, adding 273 cases and three deaths for a total of 2,902 cases and 114 deaths. Some of the new cases are linked to an outbreak at the California men’s facility in Chino, where at least 386 inmates were infected and four died Sunday morning, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

The number of cases also exploded in Santa Barbara County, where an outbreak at the Lompoc federal correctional facility left 792 inmates sick. In a nearby medium security prison on the same grounds, 31 detainees and 14 staff were infected, officials said. Two detainees died after contracting the virus there.

Together, the two federal prisons in Lompoc have 823 infected prisoners, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. This represents approximately 66% of the 1,250 cases reported by Santa Barbara County to date.

The virus continues to spread in Orange County, where the number of new cases doubles every 18.5 days, compared to 22.8 days in Los Angeles County and 24.3 days in Riverside County.

Orange County recorded 122 other cases and two new deaths on Sunday, bringing the total to 3,502 cases and 76 deaths. There were 178 COVID-19 patients in county hospitals, including 59 in intensive care.

The county has been the site of numerous acts of resistance against statewide home stay orders since they were announced by Governor Gavin Newsom on March 19.

Protesters gathered regularly at Huntington Beach to protest the rules, most recently on Saturday, when a crowd of around 1,500 gathered to call on the state and the nation to reopen completely. Similar protests also took place in San Clemente, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach.

Some companies have chosen to reopen despite orders, including a surf-themed restaurant in San Clemente that is said to have been so busy that it ran out of food.

The county’s beaches also became hot spots for controversy last month, when Newsom ordered their temporary closure after some crowded with visitors during a heat wave. Many local officials publicly challenged the decision, saying that beach goers abided by the rules of social distancing and that press photographs that showed the crowd were misleading.

The beaches reopened this week after local authorities agreed to allow active use only, but the town of Huntington Beach is moving forward with a lawsuit challenging Newsom’s temporary closure. The City of Newport Beach has filed an amicus brief in support of the action.

Although urban and densely populated counties have been hardest hit by the virus, there are signs that it is spreading to certain rural areas.

Trinity County reported its first case of coronavirus on Friday, the county public health department said in a statement. Officials released few details but said they were working to identify other people who could have been exposed.

Murray, from the University of Washington, also said on Sunday that scientists were tracking how many people were moving to states where businesses were reopening – and that the additional movement would result in more infections, hospitalizations and deaths in about the next week and a half.

“We’re just seeing an explosive increase in mobility,” he said, “in a number of states that we think will result in more cases and deaths, you know, in 10 days. “

This is particularly true, he said, in states like Georgia, which have acted faster than most to facilitate closings. “Somewhere like Georgia, which was one of the first – it’s in the category of a big increase,” he said.

He added that other emerging hot spots include Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota.

Times author Richard Winton contributed to this report.


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