L.A. Surpasses 1 Million Coronavirus Cases; Officials Identify First Case Of U.K. Strain – Deadline

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Los Angeles county, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, has reached its grimmest milestone yet as officials confirm more than 1 million total cases of Covid-19.

The county continues its trend of at least 100,000 new cases every week, with L.A. seeing a total of 1,003,923 cases to date. Saturday’s numbers confirm 14,669 new Covid-19 cases and 253 new deaths, bringing L.A. to a total of 13,741 deaths.

To date 7,597 people are currently hospitalized, with 22% of patient receiving care in the ICU.

In addition to the latest count, Los Angeles Public Health officials have confirmed the first case of the U.K. Coronavirus variant B.1.1.7. The varying strain, which caused the U.K. to undergo another lockdown, is more contagious, officials say.

Though Saturday may mark the strain’s first reported appearance in Los Angeles County, the new coronavirus strain had already made its way through Southern California, including San Diego and San Bernadino. Earlier this month, officials confirmed 2 new cases of the more contagious variant in the Big Bear area. Before that, the strain had been found in Colorado, marking the first U.S. case of the Covid-19 variant.

The CDC warns that the presence of B.1.1.7 can mark a new phase of “exponential growth” in total Covid-19 cases.

While vaccine rollout may be a glimmer of hope amid the soaring numbers and the appearance of the new B.1.1.7 variant, officials warn that L.A. County may see darker days.

“Current projections by the experts predict that if left unchecked, this variant could dominate locally by March,” Los Angeles Public Health director Barbara Ferrer said on Friday.





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