COVID-19 case rates continue to decline in Los Angeles County and now stand at 3.6 new daily cases per 100,000. The last time we had a case rate this low was March 24th, 2020 and our total case count stood under 3300. A year, 1.23 million cases and 23,702 deaths later we are left with the strangest looking epidemic curve I have ever seen (Figure 1)
Visually, I am struck by how small in magnitude our July 2020 surge seems when compared to the massive outbreak of cases we sustained from November 2020 through January 2021. However, from the week ending 1/12/2021 we began to have a steep decline in cases.
The last month has been relatively flat in terms of case numbers.
Deaths, on the other hand, remain in a consistent sustained decline from a peak of 2.66 daily deaths per 100,000 the week ending 1/12/2021 to 0.04 currently – seen in Figure 2 below.
Plotting case rates and mortality rates shows that mortality rates are in a steeper decline than case rates. This, as I have discussed before, is most consistent with a vaccination effect which strongly protects against hospitalization and death (effectively 100% protection). Further, by prioritizing those at highest risk of severe disease initially, we have more strongly influenced mortality rates as a result. This is seen in Figure 3 below.
So this is all very encouraging news. With such a low population case rate and now evidence of effective immunity among our most vulnerable, we can feel more confident about pushing reopening strategies and discontinuing some of our “corona-theater” such as temperature checks and outdoor masking.