Cases, hospitalizations and deaths related to COVID-19 are continuing to trend downward in Los Angeles County, but health officials are worried about men of color who are not vaccinated and at higher risk of dying from the virus.
At a Monday news conference, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer gave an overview of the county’s COVID-19 numbers which showed a decline between March and April. Daily cases decreased by 38% during that timeframe, with 657 coronavirus cases reported on March 4 and 403 cases reported on April 4. There has also been a 56% decrease in hospitalizations down from 1,335 reported on March 4, to 583 hospitalizations reported on April 4. But the biggest downward trend has been the 84% decrease in deaths, from 51 deaths reported on March 4 to eight deaths reported on April 4.
The downward trends are sending a hopeful message to the community, but Ferrer said residents still need to remain cautious.
“We’re going to need to make sure that we adhere to common sense safety measures so that we don’t see an increase in cases, which then will fuel increases in hospitalizations and and unfortunately can lead to more deaths,” Ferrer noted.
There have been stark differences reported in the death rates between men and women in L.A. County, health officials reported. As of April 10, the mortality rate among females was 153 deaths per 100,000 women, while the mortality rate among men was nearly double with 289 deaths per 100,000 men.
Black and Latino/Latinx men are also experiencing higher rates of mortality than Asian and White males, officials reported.
Men are also being vaccinated at a slower rate than women. As of April 4, data shows that only 30% of men in the county have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, as compared to the 44% of women who have been inoculated with at least one shot.
“Unfortunately men and men of color in particular have significantly higher risk of dying of COVID-19,” Ferrer said. “And males in L.A. County, specifically Black and Latino males have much lower vaccination rates.”
Ferrer said the reasons why more men are dying from COVID-19 could be because of different factors including that men are delaying seeking medical care, men have have more underlying health conditions and women may have a slight advantage because of their immune response.
“It is staggering that the very group of folks that have a higher mortality rate are now the group of folks that have the lower vaccination rates,” Ferrer said. “We want people at highest risk to be getting vaccinated and vaccinated quickly.”
As of April 4, more than 5.1 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered countywide. Twenty-five percent of residents are fully vaccinated.
Starting Thursday, all county residents ages 16 and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. However health officials said those ages 16 and 17 will only be offered the Pfizer vaccine and need to sign-up at a site that is administering that brand. Appointments for those 16 and older will be made available starting Wednesday.
For more information on vaccine eligibility or to schedule an appointment, visit myturn.ca.gov.