COVID-19: California deaths prompted pleas for me to stay home for Christmas

OPN_181224 ChristmasUS

People buy presents before Christmas at an outlet mall in Commerce, California.
Image credit: AFP

Los Angeles: A deadly Christmas in California was marked by pleas to stay away from holiday gatherings outside the home and closed church services, which could be an effort to stop a wave of coronavirus that has already filled some hospitals far above normal capacity.

Festive gatherings with friends and family could be tempting after a year in which a pandemic claimed at least 23,635 lives and devastated the economy, while much of the state remained under command to stay at home and shut down irrelevant businesses.

But officials reiterated warnings that Thanksgiving rallies at which people did not wear masks or observe social distancing resulted in a rush and begged people to give up Yule and New Year’s celebrations.

Governor Gavin Newsom said hospitals are under “unprecedented pressure” and if current trends continue, the number of hospitalized for the virus could double in 30 days.

“We could have a wave at the top, suddenly, in January and February,” he told News in a video posted on social media on Thursday. “I’m afraid of that, but we’re not victims of it if we change our behavior.”

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths have risen exponentially in recent weeks and are breaking new records. On Christmas Eve, California became the first state in the state to exceed 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The first case of COVID-19 in California was confirmed on January 25. It took 292 days for a million infections to occur on November 11. Just 44 days later, that number exceeded 2 million.

The crisis is straining the state medical system well above its normal capacity, forcing hospitals to treat patients in tents, offices and auditoriums.

The beds are full

As of Thursday, California had a record number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital and online wards, at nearly 19,000 and nearly 4,000, respectively.

“In most hospitals, about half of all beds are full of patients with COVID, and half of all beds in ICUs are patients with COVID, and two-thirds of these patients suffocate due to pneumonia caused by the virus,” she said. dr. Christina Ghaly, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services.

“They suffocate to such an extent that they can no longer breathe on their own and have to put a tube in someone’s throat to oxygenate their organs. “Many of these people will not live to see 2021,” she said.

Hospitals have hired additional staff, canceled election operations and set up outdoor tents to treat patients, all to increase capacity before cases contracted for Christmas and New Year appear in the next few weeks.

“Our systems are overloaded and the virus is spreading everywhere,” the Southern California Public Health Alliance said in a statement, which includes 10 neighboring local health departments that cover nearly 60% of the state’s population. “We understand that people are tired, but public health measures are not the enemy – they are a signpost for a faster and more sustainable recovery.”

Los Angeles County, which accounted for a third of all coronavirus cases and nearly 40% of deaths, urged people to avoid attending religious services indoors, even though they were allowed to with social distancing.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles allowed limited internal services, although it also urged churches to avoid them in favor of outdoor or online services.

Masses on Christmas Eve were held in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and indoor Christmas Masses were also planned.

Mask removal

On Thursday, dozens of believers who were physically deployed removed their masks just so that priests could receive communion at their fingertips, and there was not a single chant that health officials warned could increase the spread.

Father David Gallardo held a copy of the children’s book “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” in the afternoon service as he taught that “darkness does not win,” comparing the coronavirus to the Grinch.

Amid terrible warnings, there were some rays of hope, which the governor said could indicate that people were listening to pleas for social distance.

The statistical model used by civil servants to design hospitalizations predicts more than 71,000 patients within a month – still unsustainable four times the current number of patients, but roughly 40,000 less than the same model projected a few days ago.

The transmission rate – the number of people that one infected person will infect in return – slows down for almost two weeks and is approaching a point that would bring fewer infections than each infected person.

In addition, the positive case rate reached a new high of 12.4% over a two-week period, but has begun to decline from a peak of 13.3% to 12.6% in the last seven days. The seven-day rate on Thursday was 12.1%.

Newsom called on Californians to celebrate the holidays safely. “Let’s virtually hug those who are not from our immediate family,” he said. “Let’s be close to those people in our household.”