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LA County's new coronavirus surge: How bad will it get?

Luke Money and Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Health officials say Los Angeles County is in the midst of a new coronavirus surge — with an average daily case count that’s now nine times higher than it was just four weeks ago.

But this latest upswing comes at a decidedly different point in the pandemic. Even with recent increases in transmission, and the worrisome spread of the highly infectious delta variant of the coronavirus, most Angelenos are now fully vaccinated, and experts say they continue to enjoy strong levels of protection against COVID-19.

However, the risk remains real — and rising — for those who are unvaccinated. And health officials say those who have yet to roll up their sleeves make up the vast bulk of new infections.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations still remain significantly below the levels seen during previous surges, though, and there’s hope that the region’s relatively robust vaccine coverage means this latest spike won’t present the same challenges to the healthcare system.

So how bad will this new surge get? Here is what we know.

What do the numbers show?


Over the past week, L.A. County has reported an average of 1,770 new coronavirus cases per day. Four weeks ago, the county was seeing only about 190 new daily cases, according to data compiled by the Los Angeles Times.

On Wednesday alone, the county recorded more than 2,000 new infections — the highest figure since early March.

Officials have expressed growing alarm over the spread. The countywide test positivity rate now stands at 5.2%. A month ago, it was only 0.7%.

Hospitalizations, too, have increased dramatically. On Tuesday, 645 coronavirus-positive patients were in the hospital countywide — nearly triple the number seen a month ago.


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