By T.A. Hendrickson
The lesson of the Summer of 2020 is that if you don’t beat the coronavirus, it beats you.
As August gets underway, Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths in L.A. County are still high and/or rising. The reopening of the economy initiated last spring has been largely reversed in the face of the resurgent virus.
In Northeast Los Angeles, 124 people have died from Covid-19 through July 31, including 39 people who died in the month of July, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health. In all, Eagle Rock has reported 474 cases and 18 deaths since the start of the pandemic; El Sereno has had 841 cases and 27 deaths; Elysian Valley has had 175 cases and one death; Glassell Park has had 499 cases and 10 deaths; Highland Park has had 793 cases and 16 deaths; Lincoln Heights has had 811 cases and 41 deaths; and Mount Washington has had 380 cases and 11 deaths.
There appears to be a long way to go before the virus is under control. One of the metrics officials in L.A. look for to gauge progress is the number of new Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people. If the number is 100 (or fewer) per 100,000 people, the contagion is basically in check. In the two weeks to July 31, L.A. County had nearly 380 new cases per 100,000 people.
Another metric that officials look at is the rate of Covid-19 tests that come back positive. L.A. County had been aiming for 8% and for a while, it was hitting that mark. The rate on July 31, measured as a 7-day moving average, was 9.8%. That’s a big miss, especially when you consider that 8% is a generous target. The World Health Organization aims for 5%.
The pandemic is devastating the local economy. In this story, Matthew Reagan looks at the impact on local businesses of the decision by Occidental College to go to remote instruction this fall. One point that comes across clearly is that economic recovery requires getting control of the coronavirus. Speaking of college, our columnist Lani Tunzi writes about how she’ll be spending her first semester as a UCSB freshman at home in Eagle Rock, taking her courses online.
The pandemic can make it hard to focus on other news, but important things are happening: Locally, there are developments on Scholl Canyon that demand attention and leadership. The fate of City Councilmember José Huizar – and the implications for Council District 14 – are unfolding in real time, with his arraignment on multiple federal corruption charges scheduled for August 3. Northeast L.A. has lost two of its upstanding citizens: Kaye Beckham and Roice Hagemier. For a break from it all, check out what nearby libraries, parks, museums and botanical gardens are doing to help kids and adults stay occupied and healthy this August.
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T.A. Hendrickson, a native of Eagle Rock, is the editor of the Boulevard Sentinel and a former member of the Editorial Board of the New York Times.