The daily number of reported COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County continued to grow on Thursday, May 12, prompting new warnings that younger residents are more likely to become infected and unvaccinated residents are more likely to become ill. seriously.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer reported 3,407 new COVID infections Thursday, along with nine new virus-related deaths. She said the daily average number of new cases recorded over the past week rose to more than 2,600, nearly 20% more than a week ago.
The county’s transmission rate also continues to rise, with an average daily rate of 26 per 100,000 residents, up from 21 a week ago. Most notably, the seven-day cumulative rate reached 176 per 100,000 population. If that number exceeds 200 per 100,000 residents, Los Angeles County will move from the low transmission rate defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to a moderate level.
Continued increases could potentially lead to a reimposition of public health rules, such as the wearing of masks indoors.
However, rising case rates have not yet led to the normally anticipated increase in virus-related hospitalizations or deaths. Those numbers have been relatively flat in recent weeks, while the number of cases has increased.
Ferrer said the county is averaging four virus-related deaths per day. The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals has also held steady, well below 300 a day.
As of Thursday, there were 267 positive patients for the virus in county hospitals, up from 249 on Wednesday. The number of those patients treated in intensive care was 25, up from 24 the day before.
Ferrer said a variety of factors were likely keeping the number of hospitalizations and deaths from rising, including widespread vaccinations, natural immunity from previous infections and the availability of therapies aimed at clearing up infections before they become serious illnesses.
But he said another factor was the relatively low infection rates among age groups most vulnerable to developing severe illness from COVID. Residents age 80 and older currently have the lowest rate of COVID infection in the county, followed by children under the age of 5, followed by adults ages 65-79, and adults ages 50-64.
The highest infection rate is currently among the 12-17 age group, followed by 18-29 and then 30-49.
Ferrer again pointed to the greater danger unvaccinated residents face, saying they are five times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID and 16 times more likely to die than their vaccinated counterparts.
He also pointed to a recent study that found vaccines prevented more than 1.5 million infections in California during the first 10 months they were available, along with 72,000 hospitalizations and 19,000 deaths.
Ferrer began his weekly briefing Thursday with a moment of silence, acknowledging that the United States has reached the grim milestone of 1 million deaths due to COVID-19.
“As we mark the very sad reality of losing millions of people around the world to this dangerous virus, I hope that we can move forward in these uncertain times with strength, courage and compassion and use the tools available to take care of more than just ourselves. and those we love, but those we know are the most vulnerable to this virus,” Ferrer said.
The new cases reported Thursday gave the county a running total for the entire pandemic of 2,903,779. The nine new deaths gave the county a total virus-related death toll of 32,016.
The average daily rate of people testing positive for the virus in the county was 2.6% through Thursday, up slightly from 2.4% on Wednesday.