Young residents lead the way as LA County COVID rate rises

The daily number of reported COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles County continued to grow on Thursday, May 12, prompting new warnings that young residents are most likely to be infected and unvaccinated residents are most likely to fall seriously ill.

On Thursday, County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer reported 3,407 new COVID infections, along with nine new virus-related deaths. She said the average daily number of new cases recorded over the past week had risen to more than 2,600, up nearly 20% from a week ago.

The county’s transmission rate also continues to rise, with an average daily rate of 26 per 100,000 population, up from 21 a week ago. Most notably, the seven-day cumulative rate reached 176 per 100,000 population. If that number exceeds 200 per 100,000 population, it will move Los Angeles County from low transmission as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to moderate.

Continued increases could potentially lead to a reimposition of public health rules, such as wearing masks indoors.

However, rising case rates have still not led to the normally expected increase in virus-related hospitalizations or deaths. These figures have remained relatively stable in recent weeks as the number of cases has increased.

Ferrer said the county averages about four virus-related deaths per day. The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals has also remained stable, well below 300 per day.

As of Thursday, there were 267 patients infected with the virus in county hospitals, up from 249 on Wednesday. The number of those patients being treated in intensive care was 25, up from 24 a day earlier.

Ferrer said a variety of factors were likely preventing the rise in hospitalizations and deaths, including widespread vaccinations, natural immunity to past infections and the availability of treatments to clear infections before they occur. do not turn into a serious illness.

But she said another factor was the relatively low infection rates among the age groups most vulnerable to developing serious illness from COVID. Residents age 80 and older currently have the lowest COVID infection rate in the county, followed by children under age 5, followed by adults 65-79, and adults 50-64.

The highest infection rate is currently in the 12-17 age group, followed by 18-29, then 30-49.

Ferrer again noted the heightened danger faced by unvaccinated residents, saying they are five times more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID and 16 times more likely to die than their vaccinated counterparts.

She also pointed to a recent study that determined that vaccinations prevented more than 1.5 million infections in California in the first 10 months they were available, as well as 72,000 hospitalizations and 19,000 deaths.

Ferrer began his weekly briefing Thursday with a moment of silence, acknowledging that the United States has reached the grim milestone of one million COVID-19 deaths.

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