The Los Angeles Department of Public Health yesterday tweeted “Effective October 23rd, outside operations for go-carts, batting cages and mini golf at family entertainment centers in LA County may resume. There have also been updates to the school reopening protocols (TK-12 schools that are open for high-needs, specialized services can increase student capacity from 10% to 25%).”
Once again, the County’s messaging is decoupled from reality – continuing to open sectors while cases rise. As Figure 1 below shows, cases have risen 48% since the week ending 9/8/2020. We have gone from 7.79 new daily cases per 100,000 population to 11.54 new daily cases per 100,000 population.
The Health Department blames Lakers and Dodgers fans for the uptick (Link: https://www.si.com/nba/2020/10/27/lakers-dodgers-fans-drive-uptick-los-angeles-coronavirus-cases). But, in the same statement, they return to the same excuses that we have become accustomed to hearing: testing delays, data processing errors and late recognition of case increases. Or, as Dr. Barbara Ferrer stated:
“We’ve been seeing, first, very low case numbers a couple weeks ago and then in the last few days very high case numbers,” she said. “Now that we’ve processed the backlog of cases from the state, and analyzed the numbers by episode date, it is clear that our cases increased. This increase is not as steep as what we saw in July, but this is a cause of concern.”
In the national press, California is busy patting itself on the back about its underwhelming COVID-19 response. A recent Los Angeles Times article has suggested that if the county mirrored San Francisco’s response, that 170,000 lives would have been saved. It went further saying “San Francisco did everything right” (Link: https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-10-25/san-francisco-slow-coronavirus-reopening). This is clearly not the case as there have been a total of 140 deaths in San Francisco, a population of about 880,000. In South Korea, a population in excess of 51 million, there have been 460 deaths. Comparing oneself to worst in class response is disingenuous and promotes a false sense of satisfaction.
The last time Los Angeles saw community spread rates this high was in early June – and what followed was a massive July surge in cases. Buckle your seatbelts, nobody is at the wheel.