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Covid infects more young people in Los Angeles; 83 percent under 50 – Deadline

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The alarming spike in Covid cases in Los Angeles County continued on Saturday, with a second consecutive 1,000-plus tally of daily infections. The province reported 1,094 new cases and eight additional deaths.

On Friday, there were 1,107 new Covid-19 infections. That was double the number reported a week earlier and the highest daily figure in the province since March. The higher numbers of cases are detected despite a large drop in the number of tests since the beginning of the year.

Saturday’s number is striking, not only because it stayed above 1,000, but also because weekend numbers tend to be much lower due to fewer testing and reporting delays.

The number of people hospitalized in Los Angeles County because of the virus is also rising steadily, from 336 on Friday to 373 on Saturday, according to state figures. Saturday there were 79 people in intensive care, compared to 83 the day before.

Delta variant now dominates in California as case count jumps 71% in one week

The 7-day mean test positivity rate – considered one of the best measures of ascending or descending infections – was 2.4%. A week ago, that same percentage was 1.5%. A month ago it was still 0.3%. And despite assumptions formed as a result of trends early in the pandemic, that spread isn’t happening among residents over 50.

Local health authorities said on Saturday that Covid transmission is increasing among younger, unvaccinated residents of the province. Of the 1,094 new cases reported by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, 83% are among people under the age of 50 with the highest number of new cases among residents aged 18 to 49: 70% of new cases.

“As the cases increase, the urgency to get more people vaccinated increases. Nearly 100% of new cases are among those who are not fully vaccinated,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of County Public Health. “All of our Covid-19 vaccines are highly effective in protecting you against serious illnesses from COVID-19 and high-worry variants such as the Delta variant. We remain focused on bringing vaccines and quality health information equitably to all of our LA County communities, with a particular focus on those communities hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Certainly, the more people are vaccinated, the less chance there is of infection, spread and the emergence of new variants. Unfortunately, about 15% of LA County’s 10 million residents are under the age of 12 and are not yet eligible for vaccination. In total, only 4.7 million Angelenos have been fully vaccinated.

The Delta variant is believed to be responsible for massive infections in India and outbreaks in the United Kingdom and Israel. In the latter two countries, studies indicated that, as a British report said, “the increase was mainly caused by unvaccinated young people.”

Last week, 634 cases of Delta variants had been identified in California. The total on Friday was 1,085. That’s a 71% increase in just one week. Only a fraction of Covid-19 tests are genomically sequenced — the process of parsing individual variants — so the raw numbers are small compared to the total number of new cases. But genomic sequencing does give an upward or downward indication of the distribution of variants.

Federal officials have said the variant is also believed to be responsible for a majority of new infections reported in the United States — the vast majority of them among unvaccinated residents.

In the US, the number of cases and deaths has doubled in the past 24 hours. According to Johns Hopkins University, 48,241 new cases and 518 new Covid-related deaths were reported on Saturday. On Friday, the Hopkins tally was just over 20,000 and the death toll was 257. Saturday’s 7-day average test positivity rate was 3.61%, up from 2.65% on Friday.

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