The number of daily new Covid-19 cases in California jumped 20% in the past 24 hours to a new all-time high of 35,468. It’s the third record number of new cases in the past week. The state has also seen records fall in terms of deaths — that was 220 yesterday — and hospitalizations — at 12,940 on Friday — and ICU capacity — with just 9% left statewide.
Certain areas in the state were even worse off. The hard-hit San Joaquin Valley had just 4.5% of its ICU beds left. The state’s adjusted metric showed remaining ICU capacity in Orange County at just 2.3% on Friday. The number for all of Southern California was 6.2%. ICUs in San Diego and Santa Clara Counties are projected to reach capacity next week.
There is less than 10% ICU capacity statewide. Staffing remains the number one issue.
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California hit 30,000 daily new cases on Sunday. The state seems to now be seeing a surge on top of that surge. A rise to say 40,000 new cases daily would mean over a quarter of a million new infections each week. Conservatively, 10% of those people would end up in the hospital, which would mean 28,000 over a one-week period. That’s unsustainable, given that the state only has about 72,000 beds.
Health officials have long warned of this surge on top of a surge scenario. The “nightmare” situation they say would be to see yet another surge from infections transmitted at December holiday gatherings.
That’s a familiar pattern in the U.S. for flu infections and it’s long been feared that the progress of Covid-19 would follow suit. While health officials have pleaded with Californians not to gather for the holidays, the tone of their warnings has become darker in the past week.
“We’re on a very dangerous track to seeing unprecedented and catastrophic suffering and death,” Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned on Friday.
“This is what we would call a Thanksgiving surge,” said Ferrer. “We had a surge and now we have a surge on top of a surge. Should this be followed by another surge from another holiday, it could be catastrophic.”