COVID-19 Update: 29 June 2020

It seems that a lot has gone backwards in Los Angeles County this past week. Beaches and bike paths that had been opened, are now closed for the July 4th weekends. Bars are now shut back down.

“To some extent I think our luck may have run out,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, a professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. “This is faster and worse than I expected. You have to have a ton of respect for this thing. It is nasty and it just lurks and waits to stomp on you if you let your guard down for a second.”

The difficulty I am having with these sorts of quotes is that COVID-19 never stopped increasing in Los Angeles County. It was never ‘lurking’, it has always been in plain view. But, in the last week, those cases have begun to really take off (Figure 1). In the last week, case rates have increased from 13.36 daily cases per 100,000 population to 17.72 – a 32% increase.

Here’s the second sharp edge of that sword, testing has been essentially flat for the last month (Figure 2). At the end of May, there were 143.30 daily tests per 100,000. At the end of June, that rate was 151.69.(an 5.6% increase).

So here we are, more than 3 months after shelter-in-place and 17 days after having lifted restrictions. What happened? Cases have exploded.

You don’t need a degree in Epidemiology to know that it makes no sense to lift restrictions as case counts are increasing. The proof is in the numbers. It isn’t a function of our ‘luck’ having run out, our current situation is the direct result of poor public health decision making.

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