This State Is "Starting to Lose This Battle" With Coronavirus, Doctor Warns

One county now has the highest number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues amid different phases of reopening across the country, several states have fallen back into dangerous territory. The staggering rise in the number of cases and COVID-19 hospitalizations has prompted new calls for increased restrictions, including a return to lockdown. And the alarm has certainly been sounded in California, which continues to set new records that have prompted some fears that the state is losing its battle with coronavirus.

On June 23, California had its highest number of new cases for the second consecutive day: 6,600. And as the Los Angeles Times notes, it's not just the case number rising: Hospitalizations have gone up 16 percent over the past two weeks, and the percentage of people testing positive has risen from 4.5 to 4.8 percent. That number is significantly higher in Los Angeles County, where it jumped to 8.8 percent. (For reference, visitors from states with a positive testing rate of 10 percent or higher are now being required to self-quarantine for two weeks when traveling to New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut.)

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Los Angeles County's numbers have made it the county with the most coronavirus cases in the country. As of June 25, there are nearly 89,500 cases, according to The New York Times. (Per capita, L.A. County's rate of 886 cases per 100,000 people is still significantly lower than New York City's 2,583 per 100,000.) The L.A. Times reported 1,515 hospitalizations in the county on June 23, with 27 percent of them in the ICU.

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Of course, it's not just Los Angeles facing trouble. Nearby Ventura County had an average of 85 hospitalizations per day last week, which is a 67 percent increase from six weeks prior. "We're showing the first signs of starting to lose this battle against COVID-19 in our county," Ventura County health officer Robert Levin, MD, told the Board of Supervisors, as the L.A. Times reported. "It worries me. And it should worry you."

In Santa Clara County, there were 121 new cases on June 23, the largest number recorded since the pandemic began. "We're at our highest peak at this point," Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith, MD, told the L.A. Times.

Right now, however, the state is still moving forward with reopening plans. On June 18, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide mandate on wearing masks in public, but California is not planning on returning to lockdown. In fact, in San Francisco, the next phase of reopening—which includes hair and nail salons, outdoor bars, tattoo parlors, and museums—has been moved up from mid-July to June 29.

Newsom told the L.A. Times that the state is monitoring the situation carefully. "We've always prepared for a surge," he said. "I feel like we anticipated the likelihood as we've reopened, of the numbers increasing, and they have." And for more states struggling to contain their outbreaks, Mandatory Masks "Won't Be Enough" in These 4 States, Doctor Says.

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