LA County is on the eve of reopening the Orange coat, but public health officials say it’s too early to declare victory over COVID

Los Angeles County continued to move closer to the orange low for new COVID-19 infections this week, with a daily average of 576 cases in the past seven days, down 62 percent from just two weeks ago.

If the county – which is the largest in California with a population of 10 million – can continue its current path, more social distance restrictions would be lifted or relaxed for a range of businesses, including restaurants, cinemas, museums and shopping centers.

Currently at the red level, LA County could reach the orange milestone as early as the first week of April if it can keep its number of cases at a level below 3.9 per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks. This week, mean daily COVID-19 infections have dropped to 3.7 per 100,000.

This decrease has been made possible in part by the advent of vaccines. To date, LA County has administered 3.7 million doses of the inoculation that have been proven to be very effective in preventing COVID-19. About 15.6 percent of the county’s population is fully vaccinated.

People waiting for vaccinations in Los Angeles. (Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

On Thursday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that by April 15, Californians 16 and older will be able to receive a vaccine. That news puts the state’s vaccination efforts above President Biden’s goal of having vaccinations available to all American adults by May 1.

But Governor Gavin Newsom warned that even with the dwindling numbers, growing vaccination options, and progression in levels, it hasn’t quite “accomplished its mission” for the state as officials continue to track variants from the UK, Brazil, South Africa, New York and California. self.

“This is not the time to take your guard down or literally, as is the case, take off your mask. The most powerful and powerful thing you can do is wear a face cover, ”said Newsom. “Let’s work the next number of weeks until we reach that place of abundance, moving away from the scarcity mindset, where we can meaningfully begin to reopen the economy without the kind of changes we are currently experiencing.”

Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County Health Director, echoed Newsom’s sentiments.

“We are committed to moving forward with everyone and we welcome this opportunity to stay on the recovery process,” Ferrer said at Wednesday’s COVID-19 briefing. “But we have to do it in a way that does not compromise security and we have to do it in a way that pays attention to what our numbers are doing and what we are seeing in the other states and other countries. Wise as you go further. “

The pressure to lift the restrictions of the coronavirus is gaining momentum nationwide, even though only 36 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. At a press conference on Thursday, Biden announced that his government had increased vaccination targets to 200 million doses by April 30 to try to stop the virus.

Joe Biden

Joe Biden spoke to reporters on Thursday. (Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

“I know it’s ambitious,” said Biden. “Twice our original goal. But no other country in the world has even come close – not even close – to what we do. And I believe we can. “

According to an Axios-Ipsos poll released Tuesday, the number of people who have dined out or visited friends and family has risen 12 and 9 percentage points, respectively, in the past month. Twenty-three percent of people said they believe eating out poses a major risk to health and well-being, up from 33 percent a month ago. Forty-eight percent of Americans surveyed said they have visited friends or relatives, the highest number since October. In addition, 55 percent said they visited a non-grocery store, the highest number since May.

The poll also found that 59 percent of people believe that returning to their pre-pandemic lives poses a high or moderate risk to health and well-being. That is 7 points lower than last month and 11 points from the end of 2020.

On Wednesday, the US reported 80,000 new cases of COVID-19, more than enough, health experts say, to keep the pandemic going and the virus to mutate.

“The continued relaxation of prevention measures while cases are still high and while variants are spreading rapidly across the United States, poses a serious threat to the progress we have made as a nation,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. at a press conference last week.

Only 666 new cases of COVID-19 have currently been reported in LA County. At the beginning of January, that number was 16,800.

“As the supply of vaccines grows and more Californians qualify, the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter,” Newsom said Thursday.

Still, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly quickly adds: “We’re not there yet. It will take time to vaccinate all eligible Californians. During this time, we must not let our guard down. “

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