It’s been a year since COVID-19 first made its official appearance in Los Angeles, and the number of cases and exposures have been at an all-time high.
Many citizens and tourists of Los Angeles County make the decision to bend the rules for themselves. ”Only 42% of the people we tracked were wearing masks correctly, 10% were wearing masks incorrectly and 47% were not wearing masks at all, ” according to the LATimes. Many choose not to wear a mask for several reasons including protesting, discomfort, or simply forgetting to bring it with them.
“Too many seem to lack a clear understanding of the risks posed by friends and family outside their immediate household,” said Arie Kapterun, the director of USC Dornsife Center for Economic and Social Research.
The incline in death rate, 40,000 and counting, would usually serve as a reminder to citizens to stay inside. At the rate Los Angeles’s deaths are increasing, it will soon surpass New York’s whopping 43,000+ deaths according to the New York Times.
“Once it got into the general community, it became a forest fire with embers everywhere,” Paula Cannon, USC professor said, according to Stat News.
During the holidays, COVID-19 was at its worst. Many hospitals in California reached full capacity and were unable to take in new patients regardless of injury, illness, or otherwise. Doctors and nurses are being stretched thin with more patients than they can take care of and with the risk that they could be exposed to the disease as well.
“I think the peak is yet to come, and I’m very concerned that our hospitals will not be able to meet the demands that will be placed on them,” said Rais Vohra of the Fresno County Department of Public health, according to the Los Angeles Times.
In the new year, COVID-19 cases in California sit at over 3 million. Recently, cases have been steadily declining as the death rate increases. Restrictions have also become more lenient In Los Angeles and other areas in California. Governor Gavin Newsom revoked the stay-at-home order and allowed restaurants to reopen in late January.
“A lot of businesses have suffered during COVID-19, especially restaurants,” Everly Isayan ‘24 said. ”The moment the number of cases started lowering we decided to reopen restaurants. We need to make sure outdoor dining won’t raise the number of cases again.” Isayan has shared her concern for restaurants reopening because it is unclear if the cases in Los Angeles will begin to rise again due to lesser restrictions.
Many students have also shown their concern with not being able to receive the vaccine because of the age restrictions associated with them. Currently, the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are the only two vaccines being distributed in the United States, and you must be 16 and 18 years old to receive them, respectively. They are being distributed based on age and other factors. People who are aged 65 years and older and some in the medical field are able to receive the vaccine; teachers will be able to apply to get a vaccine starting March 1.
Underage people are not the only ones who have had difficulty receiving the vaccine: minorities are also not receiving the vaccine as much as white people according to CalMatters. But, according to ABC7, studies have shown that minorities have higher odds of being exposed to COVID-19. Black and Hispanic Americans are twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as white Americans, according to Health Day.