LA County COVID-19 Facts
Fact #1: COVID-19 is spreading.
Yes - the more we test, the more cases identified. But this does NOT mean that the virus isn’t also spreading.
To understand the spread of COVID-19 in LA County — we track the number of new patients requiring hospitalization with COVID-19 every day. This allows us to understand what is going on with spread in the community and not be misled by an increase in cases because of more access to testing.
Fact #3: Reopening does NOT mean the spread of COVID-19 is “under control”.
Safer at Home was implemented across the State and in LA County because it was absolutely the fastest way to dramatically decrease the spread of COVID-19. While necessary, Safer at Home is a crude measure, and it is not a sustainable path forward.
Reopening is just as important for the health of our society as closing. We know that poverty and economic turmoil have a devastating impact on the health of individuals and communities.
However, the vast majority of those living in Los Angeles are still susceptible to COVID-19, we must follow practices that allow us to get back to work and back to living our lives safely.
Fact #5: Masks, and other basic public health practices, make a big difference in stopping the spread.
We know that:
- COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets from coughing or even talking.
- Simple cloth face coverings that cover your nose and mouth AND keeping your distance from others, prevent the spread of droplets.
- In addition to wearing face covering and keeping your distance, handwashing frequently, avoiding touching your face, staying home when you are sick, and cleaning surfaces actually work!
Fact #2: The most important metric is the number of new patients requiring hospitalization every day.
LA County’s model of COVID-19 focuses on just this: new hospital cases.
By just focusing on the number of new patients requiring hospitalization with COVID-19 every day, understand what is going on with spread in the community without being misled by increased testing access.
For example, if we do see growth in the number of new patients requiring hospitalization in the weeks ahead, it will tell us two important things:
- transmission is increasing in our communities and we need to take new measures to help reduce the spread of COVID-19; and
- we need to support our health system in meeting the needs of an increasing number of our sickest COVID-19 patients while continuing to care for those without COVID-19.
However, if we only look at new cases, we can’t determine if the increase is from increased spread of COVID-19, just increased access to testing, or both.
Fact #4: COVID-19 is NOT the flu.
The risk of dying with COVID-19 is much higher than it is with the flu.
During mid-April, the “counted deaths” for COVID-19 in the United States were approximately 15,000 per week. During a typical “peak week” of the flu, the “counted deaths” are approximately 750.
We don’t know much about COVID-19 including patterns, symptoms, and even long term health effects on many who survive.
In fact, the more we learn, the more we realize there are long term health effects on many who survive. The physical burden of this disease is staggering and will be prolonged.