Unusually high number of COVID-19 deaths in LA on Saturday. What’s next?

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A member of the California National Guard puts sheets on a hospital bed while setting up a Federal Medical Station inside the Los Angeles Convention Center, March 29, 2020. Credit: U.S. Air National Guard (CC BY 2.0).

The U.S. is expected to face “the hardest and the saddest week” of the COVID-19 pandemic to date, Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday. 

“This is going to be our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment. Only it’s not going to be localized. It’s going to be happening all over the country. And I want America to understand that. But I also want them to understand that the public, along with the state and federal government, have the power to change the trajectory of this epidemic,” he continued.

To date, LA County has more than 15,000 confirmed cases and 350 deaths. 

This past Saturday had an unusually high number of deaths in LA, says Soumya Karlamangla, LA Times health reporter. “We’ve seen around 10 every day for the past week or so, and on Saturday, there were 28 reported in a single day. And then about 15 on Sunday. So that brought the total in LA County to 130.” 

When it comes to social distancing, she says LA is seeing cases of coronavirus infections before those six-feet-of-separation measures were enacted. “We expect to see the death numbers continue to climb, but are hopeful that at some point, we’ll see the case numbers start to level off because the social distancing should eventually mean that fewer people are getting infected.” 

It’s unclear how many total infections California has — because of poor testing. “Testing has been a nationwide problem. But in California, it’s been particularly bad. … In New York, they’ve tested 302,000 people. In California, we’ve tested 130,000. And California is twice the size of New York,” Karlamangla says.