Los Angeles County recorded no new deaths from covid-19 on Sunday, the first time that’s happened since L.A. County identified its first coronavirus death on March 10, 2020. And while experts warn there’s a possibility of undercounting that typically happens on weekends, it’s still a great sign that Southern California and the U.S. more broadly is getting a handle on a health crisis that has plagued the entire world for over a year.
L.A. County reported 313 new cases of the virus on Sunday, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 1,233,772. The county has seen 23,915 total deaths from covid-19.
L.A. County currently has 410 people in area hospitals with covid-19, according to the county’s public health website, a significant and encouraging drop from just two weeks ago. And test positivity rates in the region are at the lowest level of the pandemic with just o.6% of people tested for the virus returning a positive result.
New vaccinations are still going strong, with 46.8% of L.A. County’s eligible population receiving their first dose and 31.5% are now full vaccinated, according to the Los Angeles Times. Statewide, the numbers are even better, with 59.6% of Californians at least partially vaccinated and 40.2% of Californians fully vaccinated.
“Getting vaccinated in L.A. County is easier and more accessible than ever before, and we encourage everyone waiting to get vaccinated to take advantage of the opportunity as soon as possible,” L.A. County public health Director Barbara Ferrer told the local NBC TV affiliate.
“There continues to be much higher risk of COVID-19 transmission among unvaccinated people,” Ferrer continued. “As more L.A. County residents and workers are vaccinated, the risk of transmission of variants is significantly reduced, and we get back to the many activities that we loved to do before the pandemic.”
Restrictions in L.A. County are being relaxed on Monday, with time restrictions for bars now being lifted as long as they’re outdoors only. Bar operating hours had been restricted to just 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. in the county until this past weekend. All playgrounds at Los Angeles Unified School District will also fully open up today.
The U.S. has recorded over 32.4 million coronavirus infections and more than 577,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University — the highest numbers in the world. But other countries are starting to see covid infection numbers that could cause them to exceed the U.S. at its worst, especially as vaccines are slow to get rolled out in poorer nations.
India is the worst hotspot in the world right now, with over 390,000 cases and more than 3,600 deaths on Saturday alone — numbers that are widely believed to be vast undercounts. The country is currently accounting for one in three new covid-19 infections around the world and hospital overcrowding is forcing many people to be left to die in the streets.
And things are expected to get much worse before they get better as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi refuses to do much of anything to combat the health crisis currently ravaging his country. In fact, he’s helped ship out vaccines from India to countries like Bhutan, where over 90% of the country is vaccinated.
India has shipped over 66 million doses to roughly 60 countries around the world, as the UK’s Sky News pointed out over the weekend, and yet the country is struggling with a lack of vaccines for its own people.
As life returns to normal for so many wealthy countries it’s important to remember that this health crisis isn’t over until the entire world gets vaccinated. And that could be a very long time if wealthier nations don’t step up to help in significant ways, such as allowing intellectual property waivers for countries that have the ability to produce vaccines.