The temperature has dropped in recent weeks, and the past two years have shown that the arrival of cooler weather leads to a rise in COVID-19 infections. A shift in key metrics has not occurred yet, but if things change, it could happen quickly. Crosstown continues to provide a detailed look each week at how the coronavirus is impacting Los Angeles. Here is the latest.
1) COVID hits home
For anyone wondering if COVID-19 is still a presence in Los Angeles, I can assure you: It is. I tested positive on Wednesday. So add me to the list of the approximately 3.5 million official cases in L.A. County since the start of the pandemic. The actual number is clearly much higher, as many mild infections are not reported to health authorities.
Fortunately, my case is fairly mild, probably because I had received two doses of the vaccine and one booster shot already. I found it interesting that my primary symptoms are sneezes and sniffles, not the sore throat I heard people complaining about early in the pandemic.
No doubt, this is in part due to the ever-changing COVID-19 variants. Research suggests that symptoms have changed from the beginning of the pandemic. Today, they more closely mimic the symptoms of a common cold or flu, making testing even more important. Recent studies also show that vaccination status can affect not only the severity of symptoms, but which symptoms you experience.
My recommendation: At the slightest sneeze or cough, get tested (that’s what home kits are for). Again, I speak from personal experience.
2) Cases decline… slowly
Infections continue to be on a downward trend. But could we be hitting a plateau? From Oct. 19–25, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported 6,569 new infections, a mere 1.6% drop from 6,674 cases the week before.
Since Oct. 12, the seven-day average for COVID-19 cases has been below 1,000. Currently, the average is 938.
Two months ago, Los Angeles was averaging more than 3,000 cases per day.
3) Fatal figures
Although fewer Angelenos are contracting COVID-19, dozens of county residents still die from the virus each week. That number is falling, but again, a plateau appears to have been reached.
From Oct. 19–25, there were 78 fatalities in Los Angeles County. That is five fewer than the week prior.
4) Hospitalizations stay low
It is easy to forget, but decisions about what businesses can open or close were always driven by the number of hospitalizations, and fear that the regional healthcare system was being overburdened. Hospitalizations are fluctuating in a narrow range these days, in the vicinity of 400. The figure was over 1,000 as recently as August. At the worst point in the pandemic, more than 8,000 Angelenos were hospitalized with COVID-19.
Currently, 375 people with COVID-19 are in area hospitals. This is the lowest figure since mid-May.
5) COVID-19 in the streets
The pandemic’s impact on the unhoused doesn’t garner much attention these days, but the threat still exists. The Department of Public Health reports on these figures biweekly.
In the most recent update, there were 72 reported cases among people experiencing homelessness. This is three fewer than two weeks before. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 21,935 COVID-19 cases and 363 deaths among the unhoused in Los Angeles County.
How we did it: We analyzed coronavirus data related to new cases, deaths, hospitalizations and vaccinations provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.