LOS ANGELES — COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations have dramatically increased in Los Angeles County and Long Beach over the course of this summer. Entering summer, numbers across the board were decreasing due to lockdown measures and vaccine mandates. But the lockdown ended on June 15, and mask mandates/vaccine mandates are at the discretion of businesses and individuals. There has also been a huge spike in anti-masker and anti-vaccine demonstrations in Los Angeles, fueled by rising anti-science conspiracy theories circulated by the far right. All of these factors are sliding Los Angeles County back into a dangerous situation, even with the help of the vaccines.
Since the lockdown ended, daily deaths from COVID-19 have increased 4.67 times what we were seeing in June. Hospitalizations are ramping up, as well. Confirmed hospitalized COVID-19 cases increased 4 times since the lockdown ended in June. These numbers would be a lot better if there was some kind of vaccine mandate in place or if COVID-19 related restrictions and caution continued. According to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, vaccinated people are 4 times less likely to die from COVID-19 and 14 times less likely to even be hospitalized. That is a significant decrease in danger. Studies in Los Angeles County and around the world have proven time and time again that vaccination increases chances of survival and of staying out of the hospital if infected with COVID-19 or its variants. Yet COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandate conspiracy theories persist, and have even resulted in violent radicalization.
What has remained consistent throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in Los Angeles County has been the disparity between white versus BIPOC deaths, as well as rich versus low income deaths. In Los Angeles County:
Black people are STILL almost twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people.
Brown people are STILL three times as likely to die from COVID-19 than white people.
Poor people are STILL up to 3.2 times as likely to die from COVID-19 than wealthy people.
The racial and class disparity in COVID-19 deaths has stayed consistent throughout the pandemic. There has been an ongoing consensus in the United States that these racial and economic disparities in health, which can be seen throughout the medical infrastructure of the nation, are the result of a slow moving class and ethnic cleansing. Whether or not that's intended, it's the current result of our healthcare system.
It's worth remembering that on July 4, 2020, a top Trump official stated in an internal memo: “we want them infected.” Then Health and Human Services Science Advisor for the Trump Administration, Paul Alexander, stated:
“Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk….so we use them to develop herd… we want them infected…”
If this country ISN’T trying to weaponize the COVID-19 response in order to inflict higher death rates upon minorities and people living in poverty, it’s certainly an interesting coincidence that this outcome just happens to be the actual impact their response seems to have.