LA is only at the start of COVID-19 and bracing for the worst, says county public health director

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Downtown LA is empty as residents stay home during the coronavirus epidemic. Photo by Ted Soqui.

March has felt like it’s gone on for 1000 days. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees. A new –  albeit temporary – way of life has formed in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.  

As of noon today, there are more than 3,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in LA County, and 54 deaths. 

Due to social distancing and Mayor Garcetti’s “Safer at Home” order, folks may feel like they aren’t doing anything about the pandemic, and they’re antsy about that. 

But Barbara Ferrer, director of the LA County Department of Public Health, says that’s not in vain. “Every single person that participates is able to help us slow the spread. And by slowing the spread, some people live who otherwise might not have lived.”

Ferrer says fighting the virus has unique challenges:  

“In a population where no one is immune to COVID-19 because it’s a new virus, you’re going to see a lot of people who will get infected. The question is: Over what period of time and how can you actually slow the spread enough that it doesn't overwhelm the healthcare system? 

We could easily see similar numbers to New York City in a couple of weeks. But I'm hopeful that if we continue to work together … we won’t see the kinds of increases that would result in a overwhelmed health care system.”

Barbara Ferrer. Photo credit: LA County Department of Public Health.
Credits

Guest:
Barbara Ferrer - Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health

Host:
Steve Chiotakis

Producers:
Christian Bordal, Jenna Kagel, Rebecca Mooney