COVID-19 Cases on the Rise in California, Health Officials Brace for 2nd Wave

Rebekah Sager
June 03, 2020 - 7:39 am

    California is one of 20 states with a steady rise in COVID-19 cases and health experts are concerned about a second wave. 

    Analysis from the  Los Angeles Times shows that weekly cases have are now exceeding 17,000 as of last week -- for the first time in the pandemic.

    Although officials are not sure if the rise is due to more testing or the recent moves to reopen more public spaces. 

    According to the Times, there were nearly 10,000 alone in Los Angeles County alone last week. 

    Los Angeles County health officials expressed their concern Monday about the risk of COVID-19 infection that protestors could face as they gather in such close proximity. 

    “We could be back to square one in three weeks,” L.A. County Supervisors Kathryn Barger told KTLA on Sunday as crowds assembled along Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica.

    “How we behave today shows up in our numbers three to four weeks from now,” Health Director Barbara Ferrer said, explaining that her greatest concern is overwhelming hospitals in the case of mass transmission. 

    Protests in L.A. has led to the closing of various testing sites.

    Mayor Eric Garcetti warned that demonstrations could become “super-spreader events,” referring to examples of large, close-quarter convening that typically leads to the higher transmission of viruses. 

    Some infectious disease experts say, however, that because protests are outdoors, the transmission of the coronavirus could be mitigated. 

    “The outdoor air dilutes the virus and reduces the infectious dose that might be out there, and if there are breezes blowing, that further dilutes the virus in the air,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University told the New York Times. “There was literally a lot of running around, which means they’re exhaling more profoundly, but also passing each other very quickly.”

    An Atlanta-based doctor says she's extremely worried that people participating in protests are increasing their risks for getting and spreading the virus.

    "People chanting and shouting and then add in potentially coughing and sneezing because of tear gas or pepper spray and I think we had a lot of risk for a potential spread for coronavirus," Dr. Sujatha Reddy told WXIA.