Wednesday, January 20, 2021
Home Covid-19 Why California became the nation’s coronavirus epicenter

Why California became the nation’s coronavirus epicenter


#With hospitals across #California at capacity and COVID-19 cases skyrocketing, the state has become the epicenter of the nation’s latest coronavirus surge despite aggressive measures to restrict movement and save hospital space.

#As of #Wednesday, #California reported 99.3 coronavirus cases per 100,000 people over the past seven days, far exceeding all other states, according to data compiled by the #New #York #Times.

The state saw a record 66,811 new cases on #Monday, surpassing it’s previous record of 62,661 on #Dec. 21, according to The #Chronicle’s coronavirus tracker. #Dr. #Mark #Ghaly, #California’s health secretary, said #Tuesday there are “some signs that the case numbers are stabilizing,” though health experts predict a new surge in the following weeks as the state begins to track infections stemming from #Christmas and #New #Year’s gatherings.

- Advertisement -

#California was one of the first states to implement strict stay-at-home orders early on in the pandemic. #Why is it struggling so much to contain the spread of the virus? #Experts say many factors are at play, from coronavirus fatigue to a lack of enforcement of coronavirus restrictions.

#Population: #Its sheer volume of population makes #California’s numbers appear huge, dwarfing other states. “California is just so big,” said #Dr. #George #Rutherford, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF. “We’re twice as big as the next biggest state if not three times as big as the next biggest state. #So the numbers are going to look big when you’re just looking at raw numbers.”

#Lax enforcement: #State and local officials have implemented aggressive policies to help contain the spread of the virus. #But some of those policies — such as quarantine requirements for travelers coming into #San #Francisco and #Santa #Clara counties — have not been strictly enforced and rely largely on an honor system. #Other restrictions, such as banning social and family gatherings, are nearly impossible to track. “If there’s no sort of enforcement, people are going to do what they want to do,” said #Dr. #Lee #Riley, a professor of infectious diseases at the UC #Berkeley #School of #Public #Health. “That was clearly demonstrated just looking at the airports during the holidays — #Thanksgiving, #Christmas, we had more travelers. #People are definitely not following the recommendations and so that’s going to have an impact, two weeks from now, for sure.”

#Southern #California: #Southern parts of the state account for the highest number of infections. The #Southern #California and #San #Joaquin #Valley regions this week reported having no hospital beds available. #Gov. #Gavin #Newsom said 96% of the hospitals in #Los #Angeles #County were forced to divert emergency patients over the weekend due to overcrowding in emergency rooms, and that on #Monday the state dispatched a support team to help manage the crisis. #People in #Southern #California have been more lax in following guidelines, argued #Riley. #Ealier this year, #Huntington #Beach became the focal point of widespread resistance to many of the coronavirus restrictions that the state imposed, such as mask-wearing and social distancing.

“A lot of people are probably less prone to adhering to the social distancing measures that were implemented,” #Riley said. “Fewer people wearing masks as opposed to #Northern #California. #That’s really contributing.”

- Advertisement -

#But #Rutherford said other social factors have caused infections to skyrocket in those parts of the state, including crowded housing. “(#Southern #California) has a very large, poor, densely-housed population,” he said. “We see that here, as well, but it’s in smaller pockets like the #Mission or the #Fruitvale (neighborhood) in #Oakland. #But in #Los #Angeles, it’s millions and millions of people. #And it’s not just #Los #Angeles, it spills into #Riverside and #San #Bernardino, as well, where people are in dense, multi-generational households and people have to leave the house to go to work every day.”

#Weather & fatigue: The state’s favorable weather has lured many people outside as #Californians struggle with the fatigue of sheltering in place for most of the year — and parts of next year, said #Riley. #Ghaly, on #Tuesday, acknowledged the fatigue is affecting many #Californians, saying, “COVID fatigue, the level of exhaustion that people feel, the trauma that people feel in their communities, the level of impact on our day-to-day lives has been tremendous. #And wherein we might have been able to do it for three, four, five, six, seven months, getting to this point, it feels long for many people.”

#Tatiana #Sanchez is a #San #Francisco #Chronicle staff writer. #Email: [email protected] #Twitter: @TatianaYSanchez.

- Advertisement -





[ source link ]
https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Why-California-became-the-nation-s-coronavirus-15836467.php

##California #nations #coronavirus #epicenter

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments