A milestone arrived last week: On May 11, the federal government’s COVID-19 public health emergency expired.
In some sectors this was a huge development. For many people, however, it was a mere headline. After all, unless you, a family member or a close friend catches a bad case, it is easy to operate as if the pandemic is over. Even most of those who get sick bounce back in a few days. Hardly anyone wears a mask.
That said, the coronavirus has not been erased from the landscape, and some people suffer severe consequences. The Department of Public Health last week stated, “COVID-19 continues to be one of the leading causes of death in Los Angeles County.”
Official case counts are incomplete, because most people do not report positive tests to health authorities. Still, the Department of Public Health’s weekly tabulation provides a helpful and contextual sense of how the community is faring. And numbers continue to fall: In the week ending May 10, there were 2,266 documented infections in the county. That marks an 11.2% decline from the previous week. A month ago the count was north of 3,000.
Hospitalizations are also falling. In the most recent week, 252 people in area medical institutions tested positive. That was a slight decline from the previous week, and marked the seventh consecutive week that the figure has gone down.
At the worst point of the pandemic, during the first winter and before vaccines were widely available, the county was experiencing more than 200 deaths a day. Now it can take a month to reach that level.
In the week ending May 10, there were 46 COVID-19 fatalities in the county. Since late March, the weekly total has stayed below 60.
Although the government-declared health emergency is over, free tests and vaccines remain available throughout the county. More than 21.6 million shots have gone into arms in the region.
An estimated 18.6% of people 5 and up have received the most recent booster.
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.