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latest news LA County Sees More Omicron Deaths

Deaths from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County have soared over the past week, with officials saying some of the recent fatalities appear to be from the Omicron variant.

The spread of the latest coronavirus variant has moved at an unprecedented speed since December, although officials said Omicron-related illnesses produced milder symptoms than the previous Delta variant. Even so, officials say it’s fatal for some.

Of 102 deaths reported Thursday — the highest one-day tally since March 10, 2021 — 90% involved people who fell ill with COVID-19 after Christmas, and 80% were among those who fell ill after Christmas Day. year, indicating a high likelihood of Omicron infection, said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

It appears that people who die from the Omicron variant deteriorate much faster than those infected with earlier variants, Ferrer told reporters.

“That means for people who actually end up dying from COVID, if they got infected with Omicron, it looks like they’re hit pretty hard earlier,” Ferrer said.

During the summer Delta wave, COVID-19 patients were diagnosed with coronavirus infection or started showing symptoms four to five weeks before they died. But of the deaths reported late last week, many had first onset of symptoms or first diagnosis three weeks or earlier before they died.

“It’s a relatively short period of time between when someone is infected, shows their symptoms, and dies,” Ferrer said.

In the seven-day period that ended Thursday, LA County averaged 57 COVID-19 deaths per day, according to a Times analysis of state data released Friday. This surpasses the spring 2020 surge at the start of the pandemic, which peaked at 50 deaths per day; the first summer surge, at 49 deaths per day; and last summer’s Delta surge, which peaked at 35.

But last winter’s outbreak was far worse: About 240 deaths a day were reported in LA County.

There are also growing signs that Omicron has peaked in California. But officials expect hospitals to be challenged for days and weeks and deaths from the winter surge to continue.

“While cases and hospitalizations remain high, of most concern is the increase in deaths,” the LA County Department of Public Health said in a statement. Unvaccinated people in LA County were 23 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than those who are fully vaccinated, recent data shows.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we have recognized that while many are suffering from mild illness due to COVID, there are others who will not fare well if infected,” the agency said on Friday. LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

The number of coronavirus-positive patients in LA County intensive care units continues to rise. As of Saturday, there were 774 coronavirus-positive intensive care patients in LA County, up nearly 25% from the previous week. The latest figure is the highest number in nearly a year, but still less than half the record high of 1,731 recorded on January 8, 2021.

Saturday also marked the third day in a row that the total number of coronavirus-positive hospital patients fell. There were 4,568 patients on Saturday, down 5% from the 4,814 recorded on Wednesday.

And according to county data, new coronavirus cases are no longer rising as exponentially as earlier this month. As of Sunday, LA County averaged 34,000 cases per day over the past week; more than a week ago, it averaged 40,000 to 42,000 cases a day, a record high.

Still, case rates are not dropping uniformly. Sewage analysis indicates that while downtown and Westside areas show slightly lower levels of coronavirus, viral levels in the eastern and southern parts of the county are still high, Ferrer said.

Sewage data correlates with areas now reporting the highest rates of coronavirus cases, including South LA, Southeast LA County, East LA, Northeast of the San Fernando Valley and parts of the San Gabriel Valley. That’s a change from December, when the county’s highest case rates were in wealthier communities along the Malibu Coast, Westside, southern San Fernando Valley and communities. of Hollywood Hills.

At that time, “those most likely to be infected were often travelers, those who frequented places of entertainment, and those who mingled in places where many were close together while being unmasked,” said Shoe. “Some of the recent changes associated with widespread community transmission likely reflect the fact that we are now seeing increased transmission among those whose jobs bring them into close contact with others and who often live in crowded housing.”

Rates of coronavirus cases are higher among Latino and black residents than among white residents. For every 100,000 Latino residents, about 3,600 cases were reported over a two-week period, and for every 100,000 black residents, there were 2,700 cases. For every 100,000 Asian American residents, there were 2,300 and for every 100,000 white residents, there were 2,100.

Vaccination rates among Latino and Black LA County residents remain lower than other racial and ethnic groups. For ages 5 and older, 58% of Black residents and 64% of Latino residents received at least one dose; 77% of white residents, 82% of Native Americans, and 87% of Asian American residents received one.

Health officials have expressed concern about low vaccination rates among children ages 5 to 11. Only 29% of children in this age group in LA County received at least one dose. In comparison, in San Francisco, 71% of children in this age group received at least one dose of the vaccine.

“This creates significant vulnerability for further spread, not just among children, but among all of us,” Ferrer said.

With coronavirus transmission rates still extraordinarily high, experts and health officials are still urging people to do all they can to avoid getting infected: Wear masks in indoor public places and avoid gatherings non-essential, especially indoors and in places where masks are not worn, such as restaurants and bars.

In a study published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, researchers from Yale University recently find that the waiters in the restaurant were exposed most often to airborne coronavirus particles compared to other workers in high-risk environments, according to a report summarizing the results of a study using mobile virus detectors attached to the collar of their shirts for five days that accumulated virus-laden aerosols and droplets.

Of the 62 clips that were returned to researchers, five collected coronaviruses. Four of them were carried by restaurant waiters; and one by a staff member at a homeless shelter. Two of the restaurant server’s sensors had an unusually high viral load, “suggesting close contact with one or more infected individuals,” the report said.

None of the clips worn by healthcare workers picked up coronavirus, which researchers expected due to hospitals’ strict infection control requirements. The clips were circulating in Connecticut in the first half of 2021.

Authorities are urging people to keep up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters. While 3 million LA County residents ages 12 and older have received their boosters, an additional 3 million are eligible but have not yet received one.

There is mounting evidence that postponing a booster shot is risky, as immunity to COVID-19 wanes in the months following completion of the primary vaccination series.

Data presented by Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, showed that for the Omicron variant, two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna primary vaccination series resulted in efficacy against hospitalization falling only 57% more than six months after the second dose. A booster shot pushed the vaccine’s effectiveness against hospitalization up to 90%.

For the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, vaccine effectiveness against hospitalization is initially 81%, but then drops to 57% more than six months after the second dose. A booster sends the effectiveness of the vaccine up to 90%.

(US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

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