The first neighborhood-level glimpse of the COVID-19 death toll in Los Angeles County shows in grim detail that poorer areas are seeing an outsize number of fatalities. Some of the highest death rates are in low-income neighborhoods of Central Los Angeles, a Times analysis of county health department data released Tuesday shows. Many neighborhoods across South L.A. also had higher death rates, figures show. County health officials said this week that those who live in lower-income communities in L.A. County are more likely to die of the disease than those in wealthier communities. "This data is deeply disturbing, and it speaks to the need for immediate action in communities with disproportionately high rates of death," Barbara Ferrer, the county's public health director, said earlier this week.
California has now recorded more than 10,000 deaths from coronavirus. But the milestone comes at a complex and confusing time in the pandemic. After a two-month surge in cases following the reopening of the economy, there are signs the outbreak is peaking and the rate of infections is going down. Yet a serious breakdown in the electronic collection of coronavirus test data has raised questions about how accurate the numbers are. A lot is riding on fixing the system.
Coronavirus cases in California have topped 800,000, according to The Times' tracker, another milestone in a state that is leading the nation in infections. The sobering figure comes as California has seen declines in both new cases and deaths over the last month after a summer spike that alarmed officials and prompted the reversal of some business reopenings. California topped 15,000 COVID-19 deaths earlier this week and appears to have surpassed the death toll of Texas, which was reporting 15,267 fatalities as of Wednesday. But that number remains far below that of New York, which has recorded more than 33,000 deaths. New Jersey has reported more than 16,000 coronavirus-related deaths. Earlier this week, the state announced that nail salons across California could reopen.
The coronavirus is spreading more deeply into an increasingly diverse array of communities across Los Angeles County, hitting not only densely populated lower-income neighborhoods but some affluent suburbs as well. It's the latest sign that the unprecedented surge of the virus is increasing the risks to a wide swath of the population. On Thursday, L.A. County recorded an alarming 12,741 new cases of the coronavirus, shattering the single-day record by nearly 3,000 cases, and 74 deaths, the fourth-highest single-day total of the pandemic. The rising infections are going to put more pressure on already overburdened hospitals across Southern California, where capacity of intensive care beds continued to shrink to critical levels. "This is the most dangerous time," said L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
The number of coronavirus infections in California surpassed 100,000 Wednesday, marking a milestone that comes as the state is rapidly reopening its economy. California is the fourth state to surpass 100,000 confirmed cases. New York leads with more than 300,000 cases. California has recorded more than 3,800 deaths, far fewer than New York, which has 29,000; New Jersey, which has 11,000; or Massachusetts, which has recorded 6,400. The rising cases don't necessarily mean outbreaks are spreading.