Over the last couple of weeks, most of the COVID-19 news has been about businesses and other facilities cautiously re-opening, and the precautions everyone is taking to make sure those re-openings are as safe as possible. But in the last few days, the news has shifted again, with new evidence that the pandemic is not only not slowing down, but appears to be roaring to new peaks. So city, county and state leaders are now issuing new and stronger statements of caution.
According to a story in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, “Amid record-setting spikes in newly confirmed coronavirus infections, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti urged Angelenos to continue staying home as much as possible — even as the region’s economy gradually emerges from its pandemic-induced coma.”
This is because, the Times reported:
- “There have been 91,467 confirmed coronavirus infections and 3,246 deaths in L.A. County.”
- “The state shattered a daily record for new cases Monday, reporting more than 6,000 infections for the first time. That number surged even higher Tuesday, when 6,652 new cases were reported.”
- “Fifteen counties in California, including Los Angeles, have reported an elevated transmission of the disease, increased hospitalizations or a limited hospital capacity that exceed the state’s guidelines…”
- And “…county inspectors visited 3,751 restaurants and found that 83% of them were not in full compliance with coronavirus safety rules.”
All of which is why, according to a story in LAist, California Governor Gavin Newsom has now effectively paused further re-opening activities. “There is nothing to suggest, based upon the criteria and conditions,” Newsome was quoted as saying, “…that we’ll be moving anytime soon by pushing further with those protocols and those announcements.”
Here in our general greater Wilshire area, we’ve been noticing the upticks in case counts too in the last couple of weeks. Here are three images showing the cumulative COVID-19 case totals for our local neighborhoods about six weeks ago, two weeks ago, and today. The pace is definitely ramping up, with – in many cases – the tallies in certain neighborhoods rising by as much in the last two weeks as they did in the full month before that.
For example, in the 26 days (nearly a month) between May 16 and June 11 there were 19 new cases reported in Hancock Park, 8 new cases in Miracle Mile, and 196 cases reported in the Melrose area (which, according to the boundaries the County is using for this data, includes what many of us know as the Melrose, Larchmont and South Hollywood neighborhoods). But in the 15 days (just over two weeks) between June 11 and June 26, there were 23 new cases in Hancock Park, 13 new cases in Miracle Mile, and 168 in the Melrose area…indicating a much faster rate of increase in the last two weeks than in the four weeks previous.
Finally, however, although we, too, have been hearing anecdotal reports of some local restaurants and other businesses where mask-wearing and social distancing are not being followed…we have seen fairly good compliance with mask-wearing, at least, on Larchmont Blvd. On Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons of this week, Buzz contributor Dan Kegel walked the loop, up one side of Larchmont Blvd. and down the other, from the Bank of America at First and Larchmont to Noah’s Bagels at Larchmont and Beverly, and back again, counting people who were and were not wearing masks.
On Tuesday, Kegel told the Buzz, “Along the way, I counted 76 people wearing a mask, 23 people not wearing a mask, and 15 people eating or drinking and therefore not wearing masks,” which equals 75% of people wearing the still-required face coverings.
And Wednesday was even a bit better. “Today’s count (also at 2:45pm on a walk up one side and down the other, from BofA to Noah’s),” Kegel said, the count was “70 wearing a mask, 18 not wearing a mask, and 27 eating/drinking without masks (which is allowed). So: 70 / (70 + 18) = 79% wearing masks today.”
We were glad to hear Kegel’s report, and with even grimmer news today about new cases (according to the Washington Post, “The United States on Friday set a single-day record for new cases for the third day in a row, with 44,702 reported”), we sincerely hope to see our own mask-wearing numbers increase in the days to come. Stay safe everyone!
About Elizabeth Fuller
Elizabeth Fuller was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN but has lived in LA since 1991 - with deep roots in both the Sycamore Square and West Adams Heights-Sugar Hill neighborhoods. She spent 10 years with the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council, volunteers at Wilshire Crest Elementary School, and is the co-owner/publisher of the Buzz.
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