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COVID-19 Cases Continue Dropping, Deaths Persist

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By Jorge Casuso

August 29, 2022 -- Coronavirus cases continued dropping in Santa Monica last week to 132 confirmed cases, the lowest level since early April.

There were two residents who died with the virus, bringing the number of virus-related deaths to 11 over the past five weeks, based on data provided by Los Angeles County Health.

It typically takes about two weeks to report a virus-related death, according to health officials.

Last week's counts bring the total number of confirmed cases in Santa Monica to 23,528 as of Sunday, and the number of virus-related deaths to 262.

The decline in cases reflects a countywide trend that saw the average case count drop over the past seven days from 3,577 cases to 2,976 cases, a 17 percent decrease.

Deaths, which typically lag hospitalizations by several weeks, averaged 14 last week, up slightly from an average of 12 deaths the week before in the County of more than 10 million.

Santa Monica, which has a population of some 93,000, has accounted for a disproportionate number of those deaths.

The highly contagious, but far less fatal, Omicron variant continues to account for 100 percent of sequenced specimens in the County, with the BA.5 subvariant remaining predominant, County officials said.

During the final week of July, 88 percent of all sequenced specimens in LA County were BA.5, mirroring a nationwide trend.

A study by the Mayor Clinic released last month found that the BA.5 subvariant -- first detected in the U.S. in December -- is four times more resistant to COVID vaccines.

Of the 7,020,578 vaccinated individuals in LA County, 1,125,778, or 16 percent, have been infected with the virus.

The 14-day cumulative age-adjusted case rate among unvaccinated individuals was 1.8 times higher than among fully vaccinated and boosted individuals, according to County officials.

As of one week ago, 91 percent of Santa Monica residents over the age of 5 had been vaccinated.

While County Health officials have consistently touted the impact of vaccines and masking to stem the number of infections and death, a new analysis of nationwide data by WalletHub found the correlation may not be so simple.

During the 29-month coronavirus emergency, California and Florida have taken radically different paths in addressing the pandemic, with California pushing vaccine and mask mandates, while Florida has opposed them.

The WalletHub analysis found that Florida, which has the highest percentage of senior citizens in the nation, raked fifth for lowest virus-related death rate, while California ranked 29th.

Both had similar vaccination rates, with Florida ranking 20th and California 17th, according to the personal finance website's report.

New York, which had the higest vaccination rate in the nation, ranked 24th in the death rate.

As of 6 p.m. Sunday, there were a total of 3,403,028 positive cases of COVID-19 and 33,124 virus related deaths across all areas of LA County, according to the latest County data.

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