At least 7,000 people have died from the coronavirus in L.A. County, public health officials announced Monday, a grim new landmark as the disease continues to spread, infecting more than 300,000 people in the nation’s most populous county.
L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer described that number of deaths as “another tragic milestone.”
“This pandemic has forced so many to sacrifice so much this year, and we recognize the frustration and disappointment with restrictions on large gatherings, celebrations and events,” Dr. Ferrer said in a news release. “For now, it is simply not safe to celebrate the way we usually do.”
In a press conference on Monday, Dr. Ferrer said there have been more people mixing than anticipated as sporting events bring people together across the area.
The NBA’s decision to organize a “bubble” at Disney World in Florida and resume playing allowed the league to finish its season without a single player, coach, or staff member testing postitive for Covd-19.
“When you’re able to do that and you can sterilize the environment, you’re going to have a better opportunity with a smaller group like that to limit the spread of the virus.”
Meanwhile the eight MLB teams that reached the division series introduced bubble environments and played at neutral sites. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Tampa Bay Rays have also remained in bubble environments while playing the World Series at the neutral venue of Arlington, Texas.
‘We can prevent cases”
Celebrations and house parties were not fully taken into account when officials decided to resume sports without fans in the stands, according to Ferrer.
The greatest contributor to a rise in new infections, she said, “do correspond with gatherings happening more frequently as people come together with non-household members to watch games.”
According to the departrment organization, the average number of daily cases has increased from 940 per day to nearly 1,200 per day since early October.
It also noted that recent contact tracing interviews over the course of three weeks showed that 55% of the people who knew of a possible exposure had attended an event or gathering where two or more people were sick.
In a statement, Dr. Muntu Davis of County of Los Angeles Public Health urged people not to attend public or private gatherings, and said failure to do so will lead to more illness and death.
“We have a lot to celebrate in the County, and it is critical that we all take action to slow the spread as we do,” he said. “That means not participating in public celebrations of any kind, which are high-risk.
“There have been too many instances of people unknowingly spreading the virus at these types of gatherings, which, sadly, has led to new infections, serious illness and death. We can prevent cases, but it will take action from each of us personally and collectively.”