COVID-19 in Los Angeles: Really Dropping?

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By now you are all aware that indoor operations for restaurants, movie theaters, fitness centers, places of worship, bars and malls have been ordered to close in Southern California. This due to the fact that, according to Governor Newsom, “#COVID19 cases continue to spread at alarming rates.”

Looking at the most recently published data available from Los Angeles County Department of Health, that is certainly true for last week of June and the first week of July (Figure 1 below). However, last week (ending 7/10/2020) there appears to be a massive drop off in cases.

I don’t believe that this is a real drop off in cases, however, but rather reflects a backlog of testing and results. The combination of the July 4th weekend along with increasing delays in test result reporting (in our clinic we are now having results return in 6-7 days as opposed to 2 days previously) is the more likely explanation for this finding.

On June 12th, L.A. County entered an ill-advised Phase 3 of lifting COVID-19 restrictions. This reopening was inexplicable given that cases had climbed 33% and 12% in each of the two previous weeks. In each of the weeks that followed Phase 3 reopening, cases climbed 16%, 34% and 18%.

We will continue to revisit this graph as the County updates numbers.

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