1 January 2020 COVID-19 Update: Coming Off Our December Peak

In what may be a small glimmer of good news, this week has brought us decreases in new case and mortality rates as well as a decrease in prevalence of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County.


The volume of testing (Figure 1) has decreased significantly week over week from 1035 tests per 100,000 population to 702.

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However, case and mortality rates both decreased week over week (Figures 2 and 3). These patterns would fit with increased household interaction over the Thanksgiving holiday. I suspect these numbers are less reflective of the new variant (B.1.1.7) which has been estimated to be 56% more infectious than typical. If indeed the B.1.1.7 strain had become more commonplace, we could expect to see a continued geometric rise in cases – rather than the usual bend, peak and decrease of the epidemic curve (Figure 2).

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This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Smoothed-Daily-Mortality-Rate-per-100000-population-of-SARS-CoV2_-Los-Angeles-County-California-1.png


Prevalence too has decreased week over week from 20.1% to 18.4% (Figure 4) – and this is perhaps the most significant finding of all. The prevalence estimate accounts for the decreased testing volume and instead relies on test positivity rate.

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The New Year has brought us a small amount of good news. I remain concern that we will have yet another bump because of Holiday travel. The next two to three weeks will tell the story.

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