Story at a glance
- Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) notes the city’s dense population is a main reason for recent surges in COVID-19 cases.
- Garcetti and Gov. Newsom both admit the vaccine rollout has been too slow.
With more than 9,000 new COVID-19 cases reported to the city health department as of Monday, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D) confirmed that the pandemic is worsening in the Southern California metropolitan area.
Speaking on CBS on Sunday, Garcetti referenced a statistic that Los Angeles County is recording a new COVID-19 case every 6 seconds.
Population density is one of the components driving the spread, Garcetti says, but household transmission is also a major factor.
“We're the densest metro area in the United States. But we're also seeing the household spread now,” Garcetti explained. “One person is coming home, an essential worker, there might be five, seven, 10 people in that household.”
Deaths associated with COVID-19 infections stand at record-high levels, though recent data shows the fatality count has recently plateaued. Hospitalizations are continuing to rise, however, with medical resources being stretched thin. Harrowing reports detail ambulance crews receiving orders to not transport patients with little chance of survival as hospitals near capacity.
Garcetti warns that these trends are not just driven by people with preexisting conditions, but by younger and healthier patients.
“A lot of people who are younger or don't have pre-existing conditions have become very comfortable. This is a virus that preys off of our weakness, preys off of our exhaustion,” he said.
The latest outbreak will likely yield the “darkest month” for Los Angeles, Garcetti added.
Garcetti joined the chorus of state leaders and public health officials who note the vaccine rollout is moving slower than expected, and blames a lack of federal initiative for the slovenly deployment.
“We are at a pace right now to deliver vaccines in Los Angeles in over five years instead of over half a year at this pace,” he said.
Los Angeles’s slowdown in vaccine deployment mirrors a greater problem across the country, where health care clinics are struggling to set up an infrastructure to distribute and inoculate designated populations.
On Monday, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) also stated that the state’s vaccine rollout has been too slow, noting only 35 percent of the doses allocated to the state have been administered.
“We want to see 100% of what’s received immediately administered in people’s arms, and so that’s a challenge,” he said. “It’s a challenge across this country — it’s a challenge, for that matter, around the rest of the world. But that’s not an excuse.”