Los Angeles County reported its highest weekly total infections from coronavirus of the entire pandemic on Saturday, with over 200,000 cases across the week, as well as a rise in hospitalizations, though severe illness is lower than it was previously.
The total number of cases reported in the county is approaching two million since the pandemic started, with the number of cases likely larger due to under-reporting. The spike occurs as Los Angeles public schools prepare to return this week.
The Los Angeles Times noted:
County public health officials said they had recorded more than 200,000 new coronavirus cases over the past seven days, the highest one-week total of the pandemic. Hospitalizations doubled during the period, to 3,200 patients as of Friday. More than 20% of coronavirus tests are returning positive results, the county said.
On Saturday, L.A. County reported 34,448 new cases and 16 related deaths; however, officials said the true numbers are likely higher due to delays in reporting over the holiday and weekend.
“Our hearts remain with those families experiencing the sorrow of losing those they love to COVID,” Barbara Ferrer, the county public health director, said in a statement. She reminded residents and businesses to continue following safety measures, including wearing medical-grade masks and avoiding those who are not masked.
Experts stress that although case counts are higher than they were during last winter’s peak, when L.A. County was recording about 16,000 a day, fewer people are becoming severely ill from the Omicron variant. Even the hospitalization numbers don’t tell the whole story, as some counties are seeing a growing percentage of people entering hospitals with a coronavirus infection but being treated for something other than COVID-19.
Hospitalizations rose sharply, according to the Los Angeles Daily News, rising by 400 to a total of 3,200 countywide. It noted: “While still short of the peak hospitalization numbers seen last winter — when more than 8,000 coronavirus-positive patients filled hospitals — the rising numbers, driven by the omicron variant, are still generating concern. Medical facilities are finding themselves increasingly short-staffed, in part because of rising cases of COVID-19 among health-care workers.”
The emphasis on reporting that many of those entering hospitals with COVID-19 are not being admitted primarily for COVID-19 is new, and possibly politically motivated. Media outlets like CNN were motivated to emphasize the severity of the pandemic when President Donald Trump was in charge; now that Democrat Joe Biden is in the Oval Office, they tend to downplay the case count, despite his broken promises on making testing available.
California Governor Gavin Newsom broke a promise to make tests available to all 6 million schoolchildren in the state, and has deployed the National Guard to assist with testing.
Los Angeles and California have some of the tightest coronavirus restrictions in the nation, including indoor mask mandates.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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