“Worst Day” Of COVID-19 Pandemic So Far As Los Angeles Coronavirus Cases Smash Records; May Herald Long-Feared Thanksgiving Surge

“Today, Tuesday, December 1, 2020, is the worst day thus far of the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles County,” said county health director Barbara Ferrer. “However, it will likely not remain the worst day of the pandemic in Los Angeles County. That will be tomorrow, and the next day and the next as cases, hospitalizations and deaths increase.” The numbers validate Ferrer’s grim words.

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Tuesday announced the highest number of new COVID-19 cases that the county has ever experienced.

Health officials confirmed 7,593 new cases of COVID-19. The number of new COVID-19 cases blew past the previous high of 6,124 new cases seen last week. It signals that the virus is infecting more people at a faster rate than ever seen in L.A. County before, even as the county is delivering more tests than ever before. The daily test positivity rate today is almost 12%, up from 7% just one week ago.

It was unclear from the Health Department statement if the rise being seen is the leading edge of a surge due to Thanksgiving travel and gatherings. Whatever the case, it does not bode well.

On Monday, Ferrer and Dr. Anthony Fauci both warned of “a surge on top of a surge,” meaning that the county’s already record number of cases would be joined by a wave of infections caused by Thanksgiving activities.

If the county is seeing the beginning of that surge and it is already this big, the situation is truly as grim as Ferrer suggests.

Also on Monday California Governor Gavin Newsom warned that if the surge continued unabated the state would “take much more dramatic, arguably drastic action.”

“If these trends continue,” said the governor, “the potential for a stay-at-home order for those areas in the Purple…more in line with the stay-at-home order that folks were familiar with at the beginning of the year.”

To put the numbers in some sort of perspective, the County of Los Angeles just reported more daily infections than the entire state of California was reporting daily at the beginning of November.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti wrote on Twitter, “This is as serious as it gets. We must flatten the curve to avoid overwhelming our hospital system.”

There were 2,316 people with COVID-19 hospitalized in Los Angeles on Tuesday and 24% of those people are in the ICU. That exceeds the peak of 2,232 people hospitalized with COVID-19 during the July surge. The daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has increased nearly every day since November 1 when the daily number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 was 799.

To date, L.A. has identified 408,396, positive cases of COVID-19 across all areas of the county. On Tuesday there were 46 new deaths for a total of 7,700 deaths.

“Every resident and every business needs to take immediate action if we are to dampen this alarming surge,” announced Ferrer. “We are in the middle of an accelerating surge in a pandemic of huge magnitude. This is not the time to skirt or debate the safety measures that protect us because we need every single person to use every tool available to stop the surge and save lives.”

To stop the surge, say health officials, everyone needs to immediately stay home as much as possible and always wear a face covering whenever engaging in activities outside their homes. Do not mingle with others not in your household. Because COVID-19 spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets, face coverings combined with frequent hand-washing and physical distancing provide the best protection if you need to leave your home.

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