The Covid situation in Los Angeles is rapidly getting better. California is following a tier system of reopening. Los Angeles just moved into the red tier. Amazingly, the orange tier is already within reach.
There is always a risk of backsliding into a more restrictive tier. But if the pace of vaccination increases, the chances of that lessen by the day.
Los Angeles County’s daily new Covid case rate stands at 4.1 per 100,000 residents. That number was down from 5.2 per 100,000 last week.
To enter the Orange tier, the rate needs to drop from 4.1 to 3.9 per 100,000. Los Angeles needs to hold that rate for two weeks. That is certainly possible.
Reaching the Orange tier would be great for Los Angeles. It would allow retail stores and malls to open without any capacity limits. It would also raise the capacity allowed at movie theaters, aquariums, churches, museums, fitness centers, and restaurants.
Entering the orange tier would mean a return of bars, wineries, and breweries.
Dr. Barbara Ferrer is the director of LA County’s Department of Public Health. She urges caution. She wants everyone to remember the sacrifices that went into getting to this point, not to end up undoing all of that hard work with carelessness.
“That we are here today is not a miracle; our recovery represents the deep commitment by hundreds of thousands of individuals and many thousands of businesses to adhering to safety measures and making sacrifices to keep each other safe. As we move forward, let’s remember that our re-openings are happening alongside holidays and spring break. Holiday traveling, gatherings indoors and large parties have in the past wrecked our recovery journey. Let’s not repeat past mistakes and let’s pledge to keep everyone alive until it is their turn to get vaccinated.”
Vaccine Eligibility Update
Starting Monday, roughly half of California residents became eligible for a Covid vaccine. That is because the eligibility requirements have changed. Now anyone 16 and older with disabilities or underlying health conditions are eligible.
One potential drawback is that the entire system relies on trust. Without verifying people's health conditions, the door will be wide open for fraud.
Dr. Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo is the chair of the epidemiology and biostatistics department at the UC San Francisco School of Medicine. She touched on this issue.
“I think we’ve seen throughout the rollout that there is a big hunger to get people vaccinated. What I hope is that we trust our fellow Californians to basically rely on the honor system.”
As unlikely as the honor system might be to work, it might be the best option.
Dr. Aaron Kheriaty, director of the medical ethics program at UC Irvine and a member of the vaccine task force in Orange County, makes a great point. He points out that the drawbacks of an “honor system” are not as bad as the alternative.
“The challenge is, if we make the verification criteria too strict, it becomes too onerous and cumbersome to actually implement on the ground, and people are really bogged down in all kinds of red tape.”
As well as things are going in Los Angeles, we still need a little patience. The vaccine supply will be limited in the coming weeks. But, things will improve soon.
“Right now we’re relieved we [can] get started, but people are going to need to be patient.”
In my opinion, we should all celebrate how much better things are getting. We are finally getting many of our freedoms back. However, we should be a little cautious. It would be tough to deal with taking a step back at this point.
So please enjoy the gym, a movie, a restaurant, or whatever else you are into. Just be careful when you do.