As businesses are beginning to reopen in California, the state is seeing an increase of COVID-19 cases. According to the California Department of Public Health, there are now 145,643 confirmed cases as of June 12, making California the third state with the highest number of cases after New York and New Jersey.
“As we phase in, in a responsible way, a reopening of the economy, we’ve made it abundantly clear that we anticipate an increase in the total number of positive cases,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom said to community leaders during his visit to Oakland on June 9.
Lassen County, a rural county in Northern California that was one of the first to reopen its economy, became the first to rescind its reopening orders after a spike in coronavirus cases. The remote county, which was one of the two counties in the state with no reported cases, saw its first cases on May 22 after a resident traveled outside of the county.
Los Angeles, however, is one of the most affected counties with 72,057 confirmed cases as of June 13, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. L.A. County quickly became one of the coronavirus hotspots in the nation as businesses began reopening.
Effective as of May 27, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that in-person shopping in retail establishments and religious institutions can reopen with modifications.
“We haven’t just flattened the curve…we’ve learned a lot about this disease,” said Garcetti during a press briefing on May 26. “It is very clear that we have earned this day and that it is time to move forward, to reopen…to make sure that the suffering that so many people are feeling right now economically doesn’t come at the price of also suffering in human lives.”
However, as the economy began to reopen, more people returned to their old routines. During the past week, retail stores attracted larger crowds, where many failed to wear masks and practice physical distancing. Health officials are now seeing a spike in cases, which became even worse after the earlier wave of protests over the death of George Floyd.
According to ABC News, Angelenos testing positive for the coronavirus was around 4% as of May 31 which is roughly equivalent to the average of the country. However, by June 2, the number increased to 6% and again to 8.7% by June 3.
Amid growing concerns, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, announced during a press briefing that the county will allow the reopening of key economic and social sectors — including gyms, museums, zoos, day camps and swimming pools — starting June 12.
To prevent huge increases of cases and hospitalization, Ferrer reminded Angelenos of essential health precautions to follow before visiting any public space:
Always wear a face-covering when outside and around other people.
Practice physical distancing of at least 6 feet wherever possible.