Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti made a staggering comparison on Thursday. The mayor said that the near-record number of 259 daily Covid-19 deaths in L.A. County on Tuesday was 8220;more than all the homicides in 2019 in L.A. City combined.”
That’s stunning data especially for those who, early in the pandemic, equated the virus with a yearly flu season. In 2017, the most recent year for which data is available, pneumonia and influenza took 1,957 lives in L.A. County. At the end of 2020, the death toll as a result of the pandemic stood at 10,346. Not only is that number 5-times the 2017 flu fatalities, it would land very near the top of the list of leading fatalities. For that year, coronary heart disease was the biggest killer, taking 11,211 lives.
Garcetti’s mix of city and county numbers is, admittedly, apples to oranges. But the contrast is still striking considering the time periods — a year in homicides to on day in Covid deaths — being compared.
The daily test positivity rate in L.A. county had risen to 20.4% by Thursday. That means one in five people tested in the county were positive for Covid-19. The result was 19,719 new cases recorded countywide on Thursday. There were 8,098 people hospitalized with Covid-19. Twenty percent of those people were in the ICU. Since January 3, the number of hospitalized Covid patients has increased by more than 550 people. The number of virus deaths recorded countywide on Thursday was 218.
California-at-large reported a near record number of daily deaths — 583 — on Thursday. That’s just two fatalities below the all-time high of 585 that the state suffered on December 31. It came as the country at large recorded its worst pandemic death tally ever, at 3,856.
The mayor issued a warning about the coming weeks.
“I don’t believe that this is a new plateau that will automatically come down,” said Garcetti. “In fact, it’s my belief that this is just a pause before a new peak brought on by the evidence we see of too much movement around Christmas and New Year’s. So hold on, because things may get worse.”
You can watch Mayor Gacetti’s Thursday address below.
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