A key medical official is warning the public to follow recommendations in taking coronavirus measures or watch the United States fall in public health in the nation’s history.
COVID-19 Coronavirus has infected more than 5 million people and killed over 166,000 in the country, according to a report Thursday from John Hopkins University. On Wednesday 55,910 cases of the virus were reported along with 1,499 deaths – the highest number of fatalities in two months.
“For your country right now and for the war that we’re in against Covid, I’m asking you to do four simple things: wear a mask, social distance, wash your hands and be smart about crowds,” Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN.
As of Thursday, South Pasadena has a reported 233 cases of the virus.
In Los Angeles County, health officials on Thursday announced that Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) would need to limit campus activities in the near term, as community transmission rates remain high. These higher rates are driven, in part, by younger people between 18 to 30 years old who currently account for 25% to 30% of new infections.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, in a statement, said colleges and universities in the county may continue their essential operations, but most academic instruction must continue to be done via distance-learning. Further the statement said institutions may continue to offer in person training and instruction only for students who are or will become part of the essential workforce and only for required activities that cannot be accomplished through virtual learning. All other academic instruction must continue to be done via distance-learning.
Faculty and other staff, continued the statement, may come to campus for the purpose of providing distance learning, and other activities related to the purposes above, as well as maintaining minimum basic operations.
The county public health department confirmed 58 new deaths and 2,428 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday. Of the new cases reported (excluding Long Beach and Pasadena), 71% occurred in individuals under the age of 50 years old. Public Health has identified 214,197 positive cases of COVID-19 in L.A. County, and 5,109 deaths since the outbreak.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those who have suffered the loss of someone they love to COVID-19. As the number of deaths continue to rise, we join with others across the County to offer our heartfelt condolences,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health for LA County. “I know that our decision to delay fully re-opening colleges and universities is disheartening news for our students who were looking forward to life on campus. But this postponement means that we will continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and get to the point where we can return to campus when rates of community transmission are lower. Colleges and universities are an important driver of innovation, cultural vibrancy, and economic activity in the County. At the same time, the very nature of the way that colleges and universities operate creates a significant risk of outbreaks of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff. And these risks extend beyond campus into the broader community. That is why we have made the difficult, but necessary decision to limit the reopening of these important institutions.”