2020 ends with the day of the dead, bodies pile up – deadline

On New Year’s Eve, Los Angeles County reported a third consecutive day of record coronavirus-related deaths. The tally was another 290 lives lost, though some of it was due to a delay in reporting the holiday weekend.

The region has set rising records for daily deaths over the past three days. As a result, LA County recorded its 10,000th death from the virus on Wednesday.

California as a whole also reported a record high, with 432 Covid-related deaths on Wednesday. This number represents a staggering daily increase of 617% over the past month. In 14 days, Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday, “that’s 3,477 lives lost.”

Daily deaths in the United States eclipsed that mark in one day, Wednesday and Thursday, when the number rose to 3,744. More than 1,000 more Americans are dying each day than there were at the start. of December.

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LA County reported an additional 15,129 new cases on Wednesday, with 7,546 people hospitalized as the spike in deaths strained LA morgues.

“Lots of mortuaries across the county are filling up and they’re struggling to make room,” Los Angeles director of health services Dr. Christina Ghaly said on Wednesday. Ghaly oversees four county-run hospitals. “This is causing the bodies to be saved at various facilities across the county.” Ghaly said the county is “working with these facilities to try to find alternatives to store these bodies.”

The HS manager also said the LA County Mortuary, which she oversees, had “386 open spaces at the end of yesterday.” The problem, she said, was with “private hospitals that have problems saving bodies due to overloading morgues.” The county medical examiner took over that ability – or lack thereof.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer has given some idea of ​​the extreme number of daily deaths.

The 14-day average number of daily deaths from the virus, according to Ferrer, is around 150. This is “roughly equal to the number of deaths from all other causes, which is around 170” each day. , she said.

To highlight the scale of the losses, Ferrer’s department on Thursday began posting small obits of Angelenos whose life was taken by the virus. New obits were appearing every 10 minutes, the rate at which Covid-19 is killing residents of Los Angeles. Messages started at 12:01 AM on the 31st and will end at the time of 2021.

The percentage of patients infected with Covid who are now sent to intensive care rose from 20% last week to 26% on Wednesday. So it is not only the virus that proves fatal, but also the nightmarish scenario of Angelenos dying because they cannot get proper care in crowded ICUs.

“The impact of this current surge is overwhelming our hospitals and increasing the number of deaths,” Ferrer warned.

Considering the amount of travel and brewing that would have taken place during the holidays, Ferrer said, “we need to be prepared for an increase on top of this increase.”

“We all need to be prepared for a new wave that will start with even higher case numbers in early January,” Ferrer said. “The increase in cases always translates into more and more people being transported to already overcrowded hospitals and, tragically, more people continue to die.

And it is without calculating the impact of SARS-CoV-2 VOC 202012/01, or more simply B.1.1.7. It is the new variant of the virus that was first reported in the UK and has now traveled to California. The first case of the variant in the region was identified Wednesday in a 30-year-old man from San Diego. B.1.1.7 is said to be 50-70% more infectious, but not more deadly.

But with Los Angeles hospitals overwhelmed, an increase in infections would ultimately mean an increase in deaths as those who need treatment cannot get it.

City News Service contributed to this report.