California Coronavirus Circumstances Rise Regardless of Strict Measures

According to a database from the New York Times, the coronavirus surge in California has continued its astounding, deadly rise, shattering records with more than 60,000 new cases reported Wednesday and 398 deaths.

The patients are overwhelming hospitals in the most populous state in the country, especially in the severely affected San Joaquin Valley, where many low-wage workers live without adequate access to health care, even in the best of times.

Los Angeles County officials said Wednesday an average of two people an hour die from the virus. And in the Bay Area, which had managed to stave off the worst spike by adhering to a cautious, data-driven reopening process that was even more restrictive than that required by the state, ICU capacity fell below the 15 percent threshold, which leads to a regional home stay order that takes effect Thursday evening.

The numbers are all the more demoralizing that they have apparently continued unabated as the state imposed some of the most stringent restrictions in the country. Restaurants are said to be closed except for takeout in most parts of the state. Gatherings of any kind, public or private, are prohibited during the holidays. Experts and officials now say tight lockdowns are the only way out for the state because the virus is too widespread in too many communities.

While experts have pointed to a tidal wave of new cases after Thanksgiving, there isn’t enough specific data on where the virus is transmitted to fine tune lockdown orders.

“They tried to keep things open because it was economically necessary, which unfortunately makes messaging more difficult,” said Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, vice dean of Population Health and Health Justice at the School of Medicine at UC San Francisco, told The Times earlier this month. “Because we are really in a crisis now.”

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