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Southern California relaxes coronavirus restrictions despite mixed data

Foto: Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Cyclists in Venice Beach, California, on May 25, 2020.

  • Los Angeles County, the site of more than half of California’s coronavirus deaths, moved on Tuesday to relax many of its pandemic-related restrictions.
  • Measures include allowing all stores to operate at half capacity, and permitting crowds of up to 100 people at places of worship.
  • “This is another big milestone for LA County as, step by step, we begin safely reopening our communities and economy,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said in a press release. “But reopening does not mean going back to business as usual.”
  • The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County has dipped below 40, the Los Angeles Times reported, down from the 50-something seen in late April.
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Southern California is beginning to look a lot more “normal,” with crowds returning to beaches and retail stores opening back up for businesses – even as officials insist that returning to the way things were is not an option.

On Tuesday, Los Angeles County, the site of more than half of California’s coronavirus deaths, moved to allow all stores to operate at half capacity, and to permit crowds of up to 100 people at houses of worship. Flea markets and swap meets are also allowed to set up shop again.

“This is another big milestone for LA County as, step by step, we begin safely reopening our communities and economy,” Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said in a press release. “But reopening does not mean going back to business as usual.”

The seven-day average for COVID-19 deaths in Los Angeles County has dipped below 40, per The Los Angeles Times, down from the 50-something seen in late April. Just under 2,500 deaths have been reported since the pandemic began.

But progress is tenuous – public health officials announced 53 new deaths on Wednesday, while neighboring Orange County hit a new record for hospitalizations.

Dr. Sarah Cody, public health officer for Santa Clara County in Northern California, is concerned that her southern neighbors are moving too fast. On the day Los Angeles decided to allow large religious gatherings, she warned that doing so poses a “very serious risk” to public health.

On Wednesday, she wrote on Facebook: “We’re going through a global crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since World War II.”

Comparing the pandemic to wildfires that previously ravaged California, she said: “We have dry tinder everywhere… we do not want to have a large fire again.”

 

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