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Local Weekly COVID Cases Drop Below 100, as Deaths Persist

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By Jorge Casuso

September 19, 2022 -- Weekly coronavirus cases in Santa Monica dropped below 100 for the first time in five months, while local virus-related deaths rose, according to data from LA County Public Health.

The 96 cases confirmed last week came during a steady decline in cases attributed almost exclusively to the highly contagious, but far milder and less fatal, BA. 5 sub-variant of Omicron.

Health officials reported four COVID-related deaths in Santa Monica last week, the most since seven cases were reported during the first week of April, according to an analysis of County data by The Lookout.

The number of deaths -- which typically take two weeks to report -- has persisted during the steady decline in cases, totaling 18 over the past two months.

Since the fisrt local case was confirmed in mid-March 2020, there have been a total of 23,853 confirmed cases and 269 virus-related deaths in the city of some 93,000.

In a segment aired on 60 Minutes Sunday, President Joe Biden declared that "the pandemic is over."

“We still have a problem with Covid," he told Scott Paley. "We’re still doing a lot of work on it ... but the pandemic is over."

The comments triggered a backlash from liberal media commentators who worried Biden was sending the wrong message, with some calling the unexpected statement "irresponsible."

It also drew criticism from conservatives who noted the government's ongoing use of emergency powers and mask and vaccine mandates that are under court challenges.

On Sunday, the John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center listed a seven-day average of 50,359 cases and 277 virus-related deaths.

That compares to a peak seven-day average of 806,987 cases on January 12 and a record 2,604 deaths reported on January 29, a little over two weeks after cases peaked.

LA County Health officials -- who issued daily pres releases during the first two-plus years of the health emergency -- have issued a total of two press releases over the past two weeks.

On Friday, they reported a seven-day average of 1,675 confirmed cases, down from an average of 1,745 cases a week earlier.

Over the same period, the average number of daily patients diagnosed with COVID when they were hospitalized also declined -- from 772 to 713.

Virus-related deaths, however, increased from an average daily rate of 11 cases, to a seven-day average of 14.

As of Sunday, there were a total of 3,441,113 COVID cases confirmed countywide and 33,483 virus-related deaths, according to the data.

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