First COVID, now monkeypox. When will it end?

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A woman wears a face mask and Minnie House hat while waiting to board a flight at LAX airport, May 22, 2022. Summer is usually travel season, but the COVID forecast doesn’t look promising since cases are up in the state. Photo by Amy Ta/KCRW

California is being hit with another wave of COVID-19 cases. In LA County alone, infections over the past few days are in the tens of thousands, and by and large that does not include the results from home coronavirus tests.

LA also recently moved from the CDC’s low community risk level into the medium tier. All this is coming during the late spring when rates of respiratory infections are usually lower. It doesn’t portend well for summer.

“It is a surprise. We didn't expect the high rates until the fall, but nothing about COVID has been predictable at all,” says Dr. Michael Wilkes, a professor of medicine and global health at U.C. Davis.

Wilkes says the good news is that most of the cases have been relatively mild, at least for those who are vaccinated and boosted.

“We are seeing hospitalizations creeping up. In my experience, the vast majority of those who are hospitalized here in California are the unvaccinated.”

This comes amid reports of a new virus, monkeypox, being detected in California. There’s been one case so far, and Wilkes says it does not represent a serious public health threat. However, it is highly unusual, and Wilkes says it speaks to a larger issue, which is the interrelationship between animals, humans and the environment.

“All of these infections that we're seeing — from Ebola to COVID to monkeypox — that originate in animals and spread to humans have a large basis in deforestation and urbanization that are pushing the planet in new and different directions.”




Chery Glaser


Darrell Satzman