California Covid-19 Update: Newsom’s Lockdown May Be Working; Daily New Case Numbers 40% Lower; Down For 5th Straight Day
Almost exactly two weeks after California Governor Gavin Newsom announced what would become a new lockdown for most of the state's population, the daily number of new cases has dropped for five consecutive days. Granted, those numbers fall from a new daily high for the state - or for any state - of 53,711 announced last Wednesday.
Since then, the numbers have steadily declined, from a slight drop to 52,281 on Friday to the much lower 32,659 on Tuesday. That's a 39.2% decrease in less than a week, and good news for the distressed Californians.
State and local health officials have often said it would take 2-3 weeks for the first effects of new restrictions to become apparent on daily numbers. Tuesday's decline appears to be in line with that prediction.
In a December 3 press release, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that his regional home stay order would go into effect on Saturday at 12:59 p.m. PT. The triggering metric for the order would be when a region of the state has less than 15% of its ICU beds left. That region would then have 48 hours to make adjustments.
Two of the state's five regions were soon below that threshold, and Southern California imposed home restrictions on Sunday, December 6th. The ordinance bans all food in restaurants, completely closed hair salons, amusement parks and cinemas.
As of Monday this week, Newsom hinted that the spike in new cases every day might slow down a bit, but that could also be the impact of weekend data delays. The number of new cases on Tuesday appears to be in line with data lag theory.
During his press conference on Monday, the governor said that the 7-day average of new cases was 43,901 and that the more decent daily numbers were "slightly lower" than the average. Some have inquired, Newsom reported, in its normal circulation pattern, "regarding the data received over the past four days, when we may see a modest - very modest - decrease in the overall case growth rate." Too early to say ... but we'll be looking at this in the next few days and coming back ... to give you our professional assessment. "
The other side of the coin is that even if the daily falls are falling due to the new restrictions, Tuesday's number is still much higher than the daily number - 20,759 - before the restrictions.
Newsom's order, however, was based on ICU capacity rather than daily cases, as overwhelming the state's acute care system would certainly result in a much larger number of deaths. And intensive care units are still overwhelmed. The state's available capacity decreased from 2% on Monday to 1.4% on Thursday. The resulting increase in hospital stays and intensive care patients due to the current high number of new cases and the last week with record numbers has not yet been felt. Therefore, the decrease in cases is unlikely to result in the order being lifted.
On Monday, the governor was asked about a growth model that suggests there could be 99,000 virus-related hospitalizations by mid-January.
Newsom said in mid-November that there were 73,867 hospital beds in the state. That number has undoubtedly increased as health officials implemented surge plans. But even if it had grown 50%, 99,000 Covid-19 patients in the state would potentially destroy the hospital system as there are still all other illnesses - heart attacks, car accidents, etc. - that require immediate attention.
"We anticipate a significant increase in hospital admissions," Newsom said before acknowledging that some of the models will increase total virus hospital admissions to over 90,000 by mid-January. (It should be noted that two respected models have a state over 90,000, but many others have surprisingly low hospital admissions.)
"Some regions may exceed not only their intensive care capacity but also their hospital capacity," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California director of health and human services.
Christmas is of course also this week. This holiday plays a huge role in the nightmares of public health officials fearful that family celebrations could generate "a tip on a tip on a tip". This means that the record numbers already recorded in early winter will be increased again - so to speak - by Thanksgiving meetings and then by Christmas meetings.
Health officials have been asking residents for weeks not to meet with people outside of their immediate household, but early data shows that more Americans will travel during the Christmas vacation than any other time during the pandemic, including Thanksgiving.
On Monday, the California governor announced that many regions of the state are expected to extend his three-week home stay order, which is due to expire in Southern California on December 30th.
"Based on all of the data," said Newsom, "it is very likely that we will extend the home stay order." Another part of the state where the order is likely to be extended is the San Joaquin Valley, which, along with Southern California, has 0% ICU capacity based on adjusted state numbers.
Watch Newsom's Monday News Conference below.
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