15 June 2020 Blog Post: COVID-19 in Los Angeles County: More Clarity, More Questions
Cases of COVID-19 decreased last week in Los Angeles County for the first time in five weeks (Figure 1). Before you get too excited, it decreased from 11.61 daily deaths per 100,000 population to 11.52.
Testing rates in Los Angeles County declined for the third week in a row (Figure 2). For the week ending 5/22/2020 there were 160 tests performed each day per 100,000 population. We are now down to 124.33. So we are essentially seeing the same number of cases with less testing. The exact opposite of the argument put forth to explain why we are seeing increasing case numbers in Florida, Arizona and the Carolinas.
In what is without a doubt good news, mortality rates continue to decline steeply in Los Angeles County (Figure 3). We are actually in our 5th week of decline. Mortality rates peaked the week ending 4/24/2020 at 0.45 deaths a day per 100,000 population. They are now almost half that value at 0.26.
So why are we seeing fewer deaths? The most logical explanation is that a higher proportion of cases are now being identified among younger Los Angeles residents. Of course, those data are not published by the County Health Department. Instead they only present a cumulative age distribution rather than showing change in age distribution over time. So, once again, the public is left guessing when that theory could be easily answered.
While falling mortality rates are without question good news, it is concerning that testing rates are continuing to fall in the County. We should be asking our public health officials why they are doing less testing, how they can promote more testing and why data on age distribution of cases over time is not readily available.
𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿
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