5 things to know about COVID-19 this week

A bit of holiday happiness as cases and fatalities continue to fall

Orange background shot of a band-aid on a bicep.


The state of the pandemic in Los Angeles County is constantly changing. To keep up, Crosstown each week examines the latest COVID-19 data and metrics. Here is the latest.


1) Community levels are leveling off 

Good news is not limited to the winter holidays. Last week, Los Angeles County’s community level dropped to medium, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At the beginning of the month, the county was sitting in the high level, and cases and hospitalizations were rising.


The community level is determined by the number of new cases, new COVID-19 hospital admissions, and the proportion of hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients. It can all be tracked on the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health COVID-19 Response Plan dashboard.


Meanwhile, Orange County remains in the CDC’s high community level.


[Get COVID-19, crime and other stats about where you live with the Crosstown Neighborhood Newsletter]


2) Cases on the decline

COVID-19 cases continue to fall after spiking to nearly 4,000 a day at the beginning of the month.


From Dec. 21–27, the Department of Public Health reported 16,164 new cases. That marks a 17.8% decrease from the week before. Limited reporting due to the Christmas holiday may have injected some uncertainty into the daily case numbers.


Bar chart of weekly COVID-19 cases


On Dec. 27, the seven-day average for cases in Los Angeles County was 2,309. This is 14.8% lower than the average on Dec. 1.


3) Further fatalities

The number of COVID-19 related deaths continues to ebb and flow, though there was a positive trend this week.


Bar chart of COVID-19 fatalities


On Dec. 27, the seven-day average was 16 fatalities per day, marking a 20% drop from one week prior. The seven-day average peaked at 22 on Dec. 23, while the daily high was the 25 deaths on Dec. 22.


At the beginning of the month, the average stood at eight.


4) Variation in vaccinations

Children as young as 6 months old have been eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine since the spring. Anyone over the age of 16 has been able to get a jab since April 2021. Still, there are significant variations in vaccination rates.


The most dramatic and distressing differences continue to be by ethnicity. According to the Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard, as of Dec. 18, Asian Angelenos were the most protected group in the region, with 87.6% of the eligible population receiving at least one dose. An estimated 78.8% of white people had taken at least one shot.


Table comparing COVID-19 vaccination rates by ethnicity.


Latinx and Black Angelenos trail far behind. According to the dashboard, just 64.1% of eligible Latinx Angelenos got a shot, and the figure is 60.7% for Black county residents. This has remained the case despite community, health and other leaders urging everyone to get the protection of a vaccination, including the new bivalent booster.


5) Christmas comparison

No one ever wants to see “Christmas” and “coronavirus” in the same sentence, but the long-lasting pandemic has made this inevitable. In the last two years, Angelenos have experienced a surge in cases right around the holiday, driven by families and friends getting together in indoor spaces. This was followed, naturally, by a rise in hospitalizations and deaths.


It looked like that trend might continue this year, until figures started to fall in the middle of the month. For the first time in the pandemic, average cases decreased in the week leading up to Christmas. 


Line chart comparing COVID infections over 3 winters


While this is a positive sign, it’s worth remembering that in 2021 and 2022, infections spiked the highest in January, as the winter holidays were followed by New Year’s Eve celebrations. So don’t get too comfortable yet, Angelenos.


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, as well as data from the California Department of Public Health.


Interested in our data? Check out the Crosstown coronavirus interactive map or email askus@xtown.la.