This Is the Only Thing Killing More People Than COVID in This Hotspot
Coronavirus deaths have skyrocketed here, placing it only behind this common killer.
Even though coronavirus has been in the United States since January, many states have seen significant spikes in transmission in just the past two months. The U.S. now has more than four million reported coronavirus cases, with rising death rates following hot on their heels. However, in one coronavirus hotspot, there's still another ailment poised to outpace the virus' death toll in 2020. According to experts, the only thing that may kill more people than COVID in Los Angeles County this year is coronary heart disease.
"COVID-19 appears to be on track to claim more lives in L.A. County than any other disease than coronary heart disease," Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a press conference on July 22. The county reported 3,266 new COVID cases on July 22, pushing the area's total to nearly 165,000; 64 new deaths were recorded in L.A. County the same day.
L.A. County has now recorded more than 4,200 total coronavirus deaths in a span of just four months since the virus' first fatality within its borders on March 11. While those numbers are staggering, coronary heart disease claimed significantly more lives in a similar timeframe, according to CNN, with 6,000 deaths attributable to the disease in the first six months of 2019 alone.
Though coronavirus-related mortality may be dwarfed by heart disease fatalities in L.A. County, it's still significantly exceeding the death toll for other common ailments in the area. In 2017, Alzheimer's disease was the second-leading cause of death in L.A. County, accounting for 4,179 deaths—a death toll surpassed by COVID in just four months. Based on recent infection rates, coronavirus is now on track to kill more people in Los Angeles County this year than Alzheimer's disease, other kinds of heart disease, stroke, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
So, how does coronavirus' body count in the county stack up against other common viruses, like influenza? Ferrer says the flu is nowhere near as deadly. Over just six months, COVID-19 killed twice as many people in the region as influenza did over the two previous 8-month flu seasons combined. And, as Ferrer reminded residents, "unlike the flu, there is no vaccine for COVID-19 at this time."
"COVID-19 is on track to become the second leading cause of death in L.A. County and we need to take its strength and power seriously," Ferrer urged residents. "A lax attitude to this virus can be deadly for someone you love." Her recommendations to stem the spread? "Wear a face covering, maintain physical distancing, and practice hand hygiene. It can save lives." And for more on the coronavirus' rising presence in California and other states, check out these 11 COVID Hotspots That Need to Get "Aggressive."