California coronavirus outbreak comparable to New York epidemic


The number of coronavirus cases in California has exceeded 3,000, and officials say the growth rate of COVID-19 is such that it could overwhelm hospitals in the days and weeks to come.
Meanwhile, President Trump wrote in a letter to governors on Thursday that the federal government was working on new standards to classify counties as high, medium or low risk.

“There is still a long battle ahead, but our efforts are already paying off. As we improve protections against the virus, Americans across the country are hoping that the day will soon come when they can resume their normal economic, social and religious lives, “he wrote.

The letter is yet another sign that Trump is keen to loosen federal guidelines on school closings and limit social gatherings to stimulate the stalled economy. Public health experts have warned that the president is moving prematurely and that there is not enough information to show that the pandemic has slowed down.

Trump said the plan would involve “robust surveillance tests” to “monitor the spread of the virus across the country.”

The death toll in California was 68 at noon Thursday, far less than the 285 deaths in New York, which has become the national epicenter of the coronavirus crisis. But officials said California needs to prepare for many more cases and deaths.

“The worst days are yet to come,” said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti on Wednesday. “We took action sooner and faster [than other cities], but nobody is safe from this virus. ”

California top medical advisor said Wednesday that COVID-19 cases in the state double every three to four days.

This rhythm, he said, is at the same level as that of New York, where some hospitals are crowded.

If this rate continues, California hospitals could see an increase in the number of patients within one to two weeks, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of State for Health and Social Services, at a press conference on Facebook.

“Initially, we thought it would double every six to seven days; we see cases double every three to four days, ”said Ghaly. ” [We’re] look at this trend very very closely. ”

San Francisco officials said on Wednesday that it was plausible that the city could face a crisis similar to that of New York and lack 1,500 ventilators and 5,000 hospital beds.

“It’s not even a question of whether we will need more,” said London Mayor London Breed at an hour-long press conference.

Nicholas Jewell, UC Berkeley biostatistics researcher who followed the pandemic, said that the coronavirus was spreading rapidly across the United States, at a rate faster than, or at a rate comparable to, the countries most affected. .

As the state continues to try to get a clear picture of the epidemic, Jewell said the expected hike in the coming weeks did not mean that social distancing and on-site shelter orders were not working.

“We knew that upon entering we would not see any impact from the shelter in place for at least two to three weeks,” he said. “We have to be patient at this point and stay the course.”

Governor Gavin Newsom echoed the message and said the state has preliminary data indicating that the measures could slow the spread of the virus.

“We know it had an impact on the bending of this curve and the time savings,” said Newsom. “Every day is another day when we get more assets, more physical and human resources, prepared for the worst case. ”

Statewide, public health officials have reported a steady increase in COVID-19 cases, including in Los Angeles County, where the county health worker on Wednesday ordered that anyone who was tested positive for COVID-19 self-isolate, as well as those close by. contact with the infected.

Authorities confirmed 138 new cases on Wednesday in the state’s most populous county, for a total of more than 800.

They include 12 cases among members of the Los Angeles Police Department, which included 11 officers and one civilian employee who tested positive on Tuesday. Three members of the LAPD staff are among the dozen identified as having contracted the virus.

A faculty member from Los Angeles Valley College tested positive for COVID-19, becoming the second confirmed case in the Los Angeles Community College district.

The faculty member, who is treated in a hospital, worked in the child development department and has not been on campus since March 13, Los Angeles Valley College president Barry Gribbons wrote in a letter to the campus community this week.

A student at East Los Angeles College has also tested positive for COVID-19, interim president Raul Rodriguez said on Sunday. This student was in quarantine and was recovering.

Three additional deaths announced Wednesday brought the total to 13 in Los Angeles County.

Virus cases have continued to escalate elsewhere in the state.

San Bernardino County on Thursday registered 54 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths from the disease. The number of confirmed cases tripled in less than a week; Monday, there were only 17.

Two men – a 50-year-old man and a 46-year-old man – died from the coronavirus this week. Both had underlying health problems, according to the county. County health worker Dr. Erin Gustafson said in a statement that the deaths were “a sad reminder of the severity of this pandemic.”

“At the same time, for all of us,” she said, “it underscores the importance of staying at home when we can and practicing good hygiene and social distancing.”

In Riverside County, 107 cases of COVID-19 were confirmed on Thursday, an increase of 37 from the previous day.

Eight people died in Riverside County this month from the virus. All of these people were 70 or older and some had underlying health conditions, said county spokeswoman Brooke Federico. Seven of these deaths occurred in the Coachella Valley and one in the middle county region.

Statewide, more than 3,100 of those tested were confirmed to be infected.

Public health officials have pointed out that the actual number of people infected is almost certainly higher, but an accurate count is impossible because so few tests have been done.

Newsom announced that tests in the state had been performed on more than 66,800 people, but said that was not enough to give an accurate picture of what was going on.

As of Tuesday, there were at least 22 state laboratories, seven hospitals and two private outfits performing tests.

UCLA Health sent a message to patients in its network on Thursday announcing its capacity to administer 500 COVID-19 tests per day “in different clinics in the region and in our hospitals”. Test results will be available in two to four days, depending on the message.

So far in L.A. County, more than 6,300 people have been tested for the virus. Of these, 11% tested positive. Officials said 160 people tested positive had been hospitalized at one time for the disease. There are currently 44 people hospitalized, including four in their thirties.

About 1% of those who tested positive in the county died. The death rate in the United States for COVID-19 is 1.5%, a rate higher than that of influenza.

Editors Phil Willon, Maura Dolan, Nina Agrawal, Richard Winton and Sonali Kohli contributed to this report.


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