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Covid-19 hospitalizations in Los Angeles County more than doubled in 2 weeks

<i>Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images</i><br/>People shop at a grocery store enforcing the wearing of masks in Los Angeles on July 23
AFP via Getty Images
Chris Delmas/AFP/Getty Images
People shop at a grocery store enforcing the wearing of masks in Los Angeles on July 23

By Travis Caldwell, Paul Vercammen and Christina Maxouris, CNN

In Los Angeles County, which was crushed during the winter surge of the coronavirus, Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations are now again exploding.

On Saturday, the county reported 2,600 new cases. A day earlier, county health officials recorded more than 3,000 new Covid-19 infections, for the first time since February. Friday’s figure was nearly triple what Los Angeles County was recording two weeks ago.

More than 60% of the county’s eligible population has been fully vaccinated. Without those vaccinations, “we would probably be seeing almost double the number of cases,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, said recently.

Hospitalizations are also way up — with more than 680 hospitalized with Covid-19 on Saturday, Ferrer told CNN. That’s more than double as many as two weeks ago.

Some of the challenges officials continue to face when it comes to vaccinating people include misinformation, Ferrer told CNN at Ted Watkins Memorial Park, where Covid-19 vaccinations were underway.

“The most two dominant themes today are, ‘We don’t trust the government’s numbers, we think they’re not telling us the truth about the vaccine and how safe it is,'” she said.

“We have to work hard with all of our community partners so it’s not just government that’s saying how safe the vaccines are, but it’s the person at your pharmacy who’s telling you it’s safe, it’s your doctor, it’s your neighbor,” she said.

Benjamin Jackson was among the people who got vaccinated on Saturday. He said a local nurse provided him information about the vaccine and encouraged him to get a shot.

“We didn’t want to take the shot, we were scared,” he said. “They gave us a lot of information and I told her I was going to come down and get vaccinated.”

Officials across the country have doubled down on efforts to get more Americans vaccinated as the vicious Delta variant continues to fuel a surge in cases and hospitalizations.

To help curb new infections, safety precautions such as mask mandates are once again under consideration in parts of the US. Los Angeles County reinstated its mask mandate last week, and officials said they’ll keep it in place until Covid-19 numbers improve.

Cases across the US are rising sharply

The Delta variant, believed to be more transmittable and dangerous, accounted for an estimated 83% of coronavirus cases in the US for the two weeks ending July 17, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — a substantial rise from negligible numbers in early May.

Cases are rising sharply. The US averaged more than 49,300 new Covid-19 cases a day over the week ending Friday — a nearly 60% jump from the week prior, and more than four times the lowest average of 2021 (11,299 on June 22), according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Every state reported more cases in the week ending Friday than they did the week before, Johns Hopkins figures show.

Health experts have repeatedly pointed to preemptive vaccination as the best way to get ahead of surges due to their proven efficacy, but CDC data Friday showed that the rate of vaccinations continues to slow. The daily average of people becoming fully vaccinated is the lowest it’s been since the end of January, when the US was just beginning to ramp up its vaccination drive.

Thirty states have yet to fully vaccinate at least half of their residents, with Alabama and Mississippi at less than 35% fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey on Thursday called out “the unvaccinated folks” for the rise in Covid-19 cases. “Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it’s time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It’s the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down,” she told reporters in Birmingham.

With vaccination numbers lagging, officials say more countermeasures against Covid-19 are likely needed.

Guidance on mask wearing from the CDC — which in May said fully vaccinated Americans can shed their masks — has not changed, but CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday localities may want to make their own call.

“Communities and individuals need to make the decisions that are right for them based on what’s going on in their local areas,” she said. “So if you’re an area that has a high case rate and low rates of vaccination where Delta cases are rising, you should certainly be wearing a mask if you are unvaccinated.”

Mask mandates are met with opposition

Amid the rising numbers of infections, some state and local leaders are now recommending that masks to be worn indoors even by those who are vaccinated.

Health officials in Seattle and King County in Washington noted Friday that the Delta variant’s prevalence in the US was 1.4% on May 13 when the CDC lifted mask requirements for vaccinated people. Right now, Delta makes up 56% of King County’s known infections and the figure is expected to rise.

“I know this is frustrating and maybe disappointing to many, it certainly is to me,” Dr. Jeffrey Duchin, health officer for the Seattle and King County public health department said Friday.

“And I acknowledged that the change in communication,” he said, “has been a real problem nationally, but we in public health have an obligation to be realistic about the changing situation and provide the best guidance possible.”

Officials in St. Louis, Missouri, have gone one step further by instituting an indoor mask mandate at public settings beginning on Monday, joining Los Angeles County as one of the first areas in the country to reinstate such measures.

Missouri has one of the highest rates of average new daily cases per capita, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“The new rule will require everyone age five and over, including those who are vaccinated, to wear a mask. Wearing masks outdoors, especially in group settings, will be strongly encouraged,” according to a statement from the mayor’s office. Exceptions are included for those seated and eating at bars and restaurants.

“We’ve lost more than 500 St. Louisans to Covid-19, and if our region doesn’t work together to protect one another, we could see spikes that overwhelm our hospital and public health systems,” said Dr. Fredrick Echols, acting director of health for the City of St. Louis.

However, Missouri State Attorney General Eric Schmitt said on Friday that he will be going to court to stop the requirement.

“The citizens of St. Louis and St. Louis County are not subjects — they are free people. As their Attorney General I’ll be filing suit Monday to stop this insanity,” Schmitt said in a statement on Twitter.

Officials elsewhere are also pushing back against proposed indoor mandates. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey encouraged people in his state to get the vaccine, thanking “the miracle of modern science” but reiterated that he will not allow vaccine or mask mandates.

In Texas, Austin Mayor Steve Adler says if he could “order all children and teachers to mask without ending up in court” he “would do it in a heartbeat,” as Austin Public Health reported the daily average number of Covid-19 hospitalizations has more than tripled since July 4.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, however, issued an executive order in May prohibiting state governmental entities such as counties from requiring mask-wearing.

Safety restrictions are instituted for new school year

With the new school year around the corner — and vaccine access only available to those over the age of 12 — some districts are preparing for a return to classes with mask mandates.

Washington DC Public Schools, Boston Public Schools, and Wisconsin’s Madison Metropolitan School District are among those that recently announced the requiring of masks worn by students and staff inside school buildings.

Yet other locales, such as Texas and Iowa, have prevented officials from exercising local control by requiring masks.

Last week, California had announced strict statewide measures for masks in classrooms, yet changed its stance hours later and allowed for local decision-making. For now, the state will require masks but leave decisions on how to handle the enforcement of the mask requirement up to the districts.

“California’s school guidance will be clarified regarding masking enforcement, recognizing local schools’ experience in keeping students and educators safe while ensuring schools fully reopen for in-person instruction,” read the update, which was released via a California Department of Public Health tweet.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described California’s requirement for masks in schools. The state will require masks but will leave decisions on how to handle the enforcement of the mask requirement up to the districts.

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CNN’s Lauren Mascarenhas, Raja Razek, Chris Boyette, Roxanne Garcia, Deidre McPhillips, Carma Hassan, Cheri Mossburg and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.

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Comments

43 Comments

    1. Well, we had a worldwide study last year and the flu season was so low because……. the masks, washing your hands and social distancing didn’t work?

  1. Masks are only for the infected- who should quarantine for 14 days. “Face coverings only provide minimal protection against viruses trying to infect you. That’s the way this works. The rest- wash yer hands- keep yer distance- take yer chances like you do with a seasonal cold or the flu. Enough of the hysterics millions survive this only 2-3 percent of those with underlying conditions don’t. End of story.

      1. Once again- I told ya soooo…. First paragraph from your link: “Can face masks help slow the spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) that causes COVID-19? Yes. Face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as getting vaccinated, frequent hand-washing and physical distancing, can help slow the spread of the virus.” MU-GU-Wu buddy ! But Joe Biden’s ‘Merika didn’t heed my advice- masks alone don’t work ! I’ve said it from day one. Thank You !

  2. Thank you to everyone who refuse to get vaccinated, AND refused to wear a mask as well. Hope y’all are ready for more mandates and lock downs. Remember, it is your fault, so don’t whine.

    1. Exactly right. If we end up in lock downs or forced to mask up again, the fault rests squarely on the people who refused to listen to science and thought only of themselves. We need to be exploring ways as a society with a legal system to appropriately censure and punish these people to bring them in line. We cannot continue to allow them to put the rest of us and our livelihoods at increased risk through their own selfish, willful ignorance.

      If they were only endangering their own lives, so be it; yet they arent. They are endangering us all.

      1. Little do you know- the unvaccinated will set you free. At this stage- the vaccine is showing minimal effect- masks “alone” won’t work. The cure for this attack is Herd Immunity- get out there get infected- stay home and take Tylenol- soup- and bed rest… this is exactly what a doctor will tell you. Stop being a wuss- or admit- you have so many underlying conditions- that this scares you to death… and it should ! If yer that bad- a seasonal cold could be fatal too- and I’m not destroying the economy and wasting a year of my life again over your poor health !

          1. Vaccinated or not- at issue- from day one- is the underlying conditions. Better question- are fatality rates surging in correlation with the uptick in new cases ? Or is the Delta variant proving to be a weaker virus ? Not twisting any facts- follow the science- it will set you free.

          2. I’ll dispute that statistic Barney any day. That number is from total people that have been hospitalized since Jan 1. The vaccine in Oregon wasn’t even fully approved for anyone over the age of 16 until April 19th. Very few ppl would fit in that fully vaccinated category until weeks after that April 16 date. See any issue with that? How about we actually get the number using the total percentage of people from after the vaccine was actually available to all. This is just one ridiculous way stats are skewed to create a narrative that is not true.

              1. The article you linked even states the cdc itself won’t say that on its own stats. It’s not arguing parameters. It’s actually usually the data in a logical fact based manner so it doesn’t skew the data. Your article link even mentions the current admin stating the 95% and 97% number which is complete bogus. They are using a denominator that includes a time when almost no one could have fit into a fully vaccinated category. That is not a small deal, that’s is the main number in that statistic calculation. That would be like before taxes are due the irs stating that 97% of Americans have not paid taxes this year. Well that is factually true, that is not a logical number to state using a date that is before they are even due.
                When we use statistics for information purposes it matters and it should be done correctly and honestly. Period.

                1. Well, most of us presume the reporter is summarizing data in a factual manner. Most articles I’ve read speak of recent or current hospitalizations, not … whatever you say…

      2. People like you are so indoctrinated into a certain way of thinking that it doesn’t even make you question the governments decisions. It’s sad really. Lockdowns and mandates are not needed EVEN with covid surges anymore for numerous reasons. So if the dictator governor unilaterally decides to reimplement lockdowns, put the blame squarely on her.

    2. I love your use of “y’all”. You imply that those pesky back woods folks are screwing everything up. Guess what Mr. Marxist? Those who want the vaccine have already gotten it and are willing to take the 99%+ chance of surviving it. If you are scared, then “trust the science” take your shot and shut your mouth. If the vaccine works so well, then you shouldn’t worry about the unvaccinated.

      The vaccine works yes, but I’m not willing to subject myself to some experimental drug in order to make people like you feel better. I don’t need to hear from a virtue signaling person like you. I hear from many Marxists who have never accomplished a darn thing in their life say…”YAY!!! I’m saving the world…I’ve been vaccinated.” Typical Marxist, blaim the world for their woes but grab the low hanging fruit because Major Mumble says so and think they are saving the world…sad.

  3. https://www.politico.com/news/2021/07/23/alabama-governor-covid-vaccinations-500638

    Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued an impassioned plea for residents of her state to get vaccinated against Covid-19, arguing it was “time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks” for the disease’s continued spread.

    “I want folks to get vaccinated. That’s the cure. That prevents everything,” Ivey, a Republican, told reporters in Birmingham, Ala., on Thursday.

    1. You also obviously forgot who initiated the program that brought your precious vaccine to the world in record time- DJ- President Trump ! You also forgot the fact that “masks” are not necessary in public places. Now if you could have only forgotten the website where you pilfered that “mistaken as a Republican” BS- we’d all feel a bit better about your current lack of mask knowledge… but alas most liberal demokrats just can’t help publicly humiliating themselves !

      1. Wishy has a QAnon calendar with Marjorie Taylor Greene wearing a confederate flag bikini holding an AR. The month of December is Trump wearing a speedo.

  4. We personally are done with masks. Those that had too much kool-aid are not. Brown will quickly jump on the bandwagon mandating masks. Any takers?

    1. The only ones drinking the koolaid are the ones stupid enough to believe the disinformation coming out from their favorite talking heads and not get vaccinated.

        1. She won’t. As soon as you reference actual data and numbers used in a correct statistical fashion they just don’t respond and move onto the next story to write the same crap.

          1. Only Wishy can’t add and subtract let alone interpret data correctly. Maybe the two of you should look at the graphs. Graphs are usually easier to understand for people like you two.

        2. Wishy, I don’t have to prove you wrong, you do that most effectively to yourself. Maybe you should have someone divide 259,393,206 by 2 for you since it’s above your mathematic ability, that would equal 50% or half of the adults in the US not your claimed 83 million. And having to be incubated and put on a ventilator because your lungs are being attacked by this virus and filling with fluids is a horrible experience. But then maybe you and Redmond can try it sometime so you have a better understanding of the conditions under which they people are dying.

          1. Hey Martha. News flash. Already had it and I would take it over the flu any day. But that’s also because I am not obese which if you look at all the data is the absolute number 1 co morbidity risk factor attributed to difficulty dealing with the virus. I tend to take care of myself which puts me in an essentially zero risk category. So sure have there been rare “healthy” people that have died or have had complications? Sure, of course there have been, but it is minuscule compared to the vast majority.

    1. Most of Barney’s kids are ! Either shout them down with facts and data- or ignore their never-ending nagging. Also- understand that many of these screen names are the same person- multiple handles- spouting the same BS- feel free to fight fire with fire and watch for the Digi-Con-Tator to try and unbalance the playing field- that’s when it gets real fun- cause the data don’t lie- a lying colluding news media do tho- so sit back and enjoy the show.

      1. FACT: You have NO proof these are people using different handles. But I can tell you they have different email addresses and IP addresses.
        We don’t know any of them – nor you.
        And no I won’t spent one second giving you one lick of proof to abuse, twist, deny and obfuscate.
        And besides – WE DON’T CARE. Its a very balanced playing field, despite some childish frequent protestations.
        Spending my time trying to convince you the sky is blue or the grass is green would be just as worthless.
        In fact, even responding to you gives you credence you don’t deserve or warrant. So I will resist harder. But I feel confident very few here believe just about anything you say, so I’m thankful for that.
        Those who do are usually coming from the same sad position of hate and blame as you. So there’s that.

  5. I am sick to death of the vaccinated blaming the unvaccinated!!! I am highly allergic to sulfa and have Guillain Barre Syndrome! When I had sulfa and my GBS acted up, I could NOT walk!!! My cousin has, to date, spent 59 YEARS in metal leg braces!!!! Kindly realize that my taking the Covid vaccination would endanger my ability to walk.
    As I’ve said ad nausem, let’s all realize that it is NOT a case of black or white.
    Until we ALL realize that the powers that be are playing us, we will continue to be stuck in the never ending circle of hating those who are different from us.
    I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I find both political parties distasteful.
    AND I do look at the Covid vaccination from a scientific perspective, as well! My late father was part of the Research Department of Merck for 30 years. He always said that it was imperative to never take medication, in any form, until it has been tested or proven for 10-15 years.

    1. We’ve heard this all before. Your dad worked at Merck, so what. You never went to your Doctor with your concerns. You turned to Facebook, and now we have to hear this over and over.

      Fine. You can’t take the shot. You should be wearing your mask and washing your hands and keeping 6′, and you should be freaking out that Republicans aren’t getting their shots to keep you safe! Feel better. Or not.

    1. Cult45 is owning the libs by catching Covid. lol…
      What they don’t realize is we don’t care.
      Wall Street seems to care.
      FOX lawyers seem to be pretty scared.
      But we don’t care. At all.

  6. The irony- that in the very near future- these non-FA approved vaccines could very well lead to the types of complications that today we call “underlying conditions”. Food for thought vaxerholes… ya’ll best leave the rest of us alone.

  7. Barney. You’re presumption that reporters are summarizing the data in a factual manner is the first mistake. There are very few reporters anymore actually stating facts and not injecting options in order to skew data. There are a plethora of studies that have looked into that over the last 15 years. For the most part, objective based reporting is dead. And no if you look into the reference of most studies, especially what you call current ones, they still reference numbers starting back on Jan 1. Again, I would encourage anyone to read an article and than dig a little deeper on their references where they get their data. Unfortunately few do any more.

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