As coronavirus-induced lockdowns stretch into a second month, protests continue to break out across the country as critics of the tight restrictions demand a reopening of businesses and the economy. The most common charge is that the COVID-19 illness is comparable to the flu and not as deadly.
At today’s Los Angeles County coronavirus press briefing, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer didn’t directly address the protestors but she did lay out statistics that COVID-19 death rates have now surpassed other common illnesses, including influenza, to become the leading cause of death in the county.
She cited April 12 as the date when the county recorded its highest number of single-day fatalities with 31 deaths. Since then, the average number of daily reported deaths stands at 44, exceeding other diseases and illnesses tracked by the public health department, she said. By comparison, there are five flu deaths per day during flu season, eight per day from COPD and emphysema, and 31 from coronary heart disease. Ferrer specifically singled out influenza, saying that COVID-19 has claimed more lives in two months than the number of people who die from the flu during an eight-month period.
From April 12-23, 535 people passed away from the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. To date, during the pandemic, there have been 797 fatalities in the county and Ferrer’s update followed California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s briefing during which he said the past 24 hours have delivered the state’s deadliest day with 115 lives lost for a total of 1,469 deaths.
“More people are dying each day from COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “Sixty-seven percent of all of our COVID-19 deaths happened in a two week period. These numbers are a stark reminder for all of us of slowing the spread of COVID-19…in slowing the spread, we have the opportunity to save a life.”
Sources: COVID-19 Becomes Leading Cause of Death in L.A. County, Surpassing Influenza
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