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BLOODIEST YEAR!

 
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In 2021, the carnage from mayhem in Los Angeles was greater than the totals of the previous worst yeat in 2007. 

2021 worst year for LA bloodletting in 15 years

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—A total of 395 homicides were committed in Los Angeles last year, making it the deadliest year since 2007, according to data released by a nonprofit news organization, Jan. 11.


According to Crosstown at USC, a nonprofit news organization based at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, the unusually high death toll was fueled by the last four months of the year, during which 122 people were killed.


There were only two other quarters in the last decade when the homicide rate exceeded 100, both of which occurred after the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to Crosstown.


The bloodiest month of the year was July, with 48 homicides, the highest total seen since at least 2010, according to Crosstown's preliminary analysis.


The news agency pointed out that all totals are subject to revision depending on changes in the data provided by the Los Angeles Police Department. The totals reflect crimes reported to the LAPD.


The number of homicides committed in 2021 represents a 12.5 percent increase over 2020 and a 53.1 percent jump in killings relative to the pre-pandemic year of 2019.


The report noted that LAPD Chief Michel Moore has pointed to a rise in gun violence as the reason for the increase. Reports of shots fired in 2021 were up more than 58 percent over 2019 levels and gun-related arrests was up 300 percent over the same time period, according to Crosstown.


A firearm was the weapon used in nearly three-quarters of the homicides.


In terms of geography, downtown Los Angeles had the most homicides for the fifth year in a row, with 29 killings in that community. Watts recorded 23 homicides, while Boyle Heights, Florence and Green Meadows reported 14 homicides each during 2021.


The vast majority of the victims, 86 percent, were men and they were disproportionately Black, according to Crosstown.


More than 35 percent of those killed were Black, roughly 52 percent were Hispanic and about 7 percent were White, according to LAPD data. Black, Latino, and White residents make up roughly 9 percent, 49 percent and 52 percent of the city's residents, respectively, based on US census estimates for 2021.

 

City News Service.

Los Angeles County COVID cases surpass 2 million mark

LOS ANGELES (CNS)—With COVID-19 infections still surging, Los Angeles County's cumulative number of cases throughout the pandemic surpassed the 2 million mark, with 43,582 new cases confirmed in the latest data.


Those new cases lifted the county's cumulative case total to 2,010,964 since the pandemic began.


Another 13 deaths were also confirmed, giving the county an overall death toll of 27,798.


Health officials have said previously that about 90 percent of people who died from COVID-19 had underlying health conditions. Of the 13 deaths reported Jan. 10, nine had underlying conditions, according to the county Department of Public Health.


The number of COVID-positive patients in county hospitals also continued an unnerving rise, reach- ing 3,472, according to state figures. That was up from 3,364 on Jan. 9. The number of hospitalized patients being treated in intensive care was 482 as of Monday, up from 435 a day earlier.


The number of hospitalized COVID-positive patients has not been this high since February of last year, during a severe winter surge that at one point pushed the patient number above 8,000.


"With surging transmission and rapidly rising cases and hospitalizations, our already understaffed healthcare providers are under enormous strain as they try to care for so many COVID infected people, including those with mild illness who are looking for help and support, with the unintended consequence of compromising response capacity across the entire system," county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a statement. "Because high community transmission has the inevitable impact of increasing demand for healthcare services, the best way to protect health care personnel and our capacity to care for both those with COVID and non-COVID illness, is to double-down on reducing transmission."


The county Department of Public Health noted, however, that a majority of COVID hospitalizations are occurring among people who were originally admitted for another reason, and only realized they had the virus when they were tested upon admission.


For the week ending Dec. 26, 55 percent of COVID-positive hospital patients had been admitted for a different reason—indicating that while they were infected with COVID, they were not experiencing severe virus symptoms.


County health officials stressed, however, that unvaccinated people remain 21 times more likely to wind up hospitalized with COVID than vaccinated people.


The current surge in cases in being driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant of the virus.


"While it is true that Omicron is much more infectious than previous COVID strains, there are many effective strategies available for reducing transmission risks over the next few weeks," Ferrer said. "At the top of the list is avoiding hazardous activities where people are unmasked and in close contact
with others. Gatherings should also be postponed for a few weeks, especially if there are participants who are not fully vaccinated, and everyone cannot test before getting together. Lastly, upgrading masks to those that provide a better barrier against virus particles is a commonsense step that increases our own protection along with those around us."


The county's rolling average rate of people testing positive for the virus was 21.4 percent as of Jan. 10 up from 20.6 percent Sunday and 20.9 percent Jan. 8. The rate was less than 1 percent in November.


Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday unveiled a proposed $2.7 billion COVID-19 emergency response package as part of his budget proposal, including a $1.4 billion emergency appropriation request to bolster testing capacity, accelerate vaccination and booster efforts, support frontline workers, strengthen the health care system and ``battle misinformation.''


On Jan. 7, Newsom announced the activation the California National Guard to help provide additional testing facilities and capacity amid the national surge in cases driven by the Omicron variant.


The announcement came as Omicron continues to spread rapidly across the globe, accounting for at least 80 percent of COVID-19 cases in California.


On Jan. 10, a drive-thru COVID-19 testing center opened in the City of Industry, at the Industry Hills Expo Center at 16200 Temple Ave. The site features multiple lanes with a capacity of up to 1,000 vehicles, and will offer dual COVID-19 PCR and Influenza A & B (flu virus) test results. The COVID site will conduct testing Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Jan. 31.


Appointments are strongly encouraged and can be made online at www.TotalTestingSolutions.com.


Another new COVID testing site opened this weekend in Santa Monica—in the former Sears building at 302 Colorado Ave.—with the capacity to test up to 1,920 people daily.


Long Beach—which has its own health department separate from the county—announced an expanded drive-thru and walk-up testing site that opened Monday in the former Boeing parking lot near 3590 E. Wardlow Road. That site has the capacity to test 3,000 people a day.


Surging infection numbers have prompted LA County to amend its public health order, requiring employers to provide upgraded masks to employees who work indoors in close contact with others. The order will take effect Jan. 17 and requires employers to provide affected workers with "well-fitting medical grade masks, surgical masks, or higher-level respirators, such as N95 or KN95 masks."


The revised order also amended the definition of outdoor "mega events," where masking is required, to 5,000 or more attendees; and the definition of indoor "mega" events to 500 or more people. The numbers align with those in the state's health order. The county's order also "recommends" that food and drink be consumed only in designated dining areas.


The upgraded mask requirement for county workplaces mirrors an order released by the county for K-12 schools, requiring teachers and staff to wear higher-grade face coverings. USC announced this week it will require all students and staff to wear higher-grade masks when classes resume.


According to county figures released Thursday, of the more than 6.4 million fully vaccinated people in the county, 199,314 have tested positive for the virus, for a rate of 3.1 percent, while 3,348 have been hospitalized, for a rate of 0.05 percent. A total of 625 fully vaccinated people have died for a rate of 0.01 percent.


The testing-positivity rate, however, may be artificially low due to the number of people who use take-home tests and don't report the results.


Overall, 79 percent of eligible county residents aged 5 and older have received at least one dose of vaccine, while 71 percent are fully vaccinated. Of the county's overall population of 10.3 million people, 75 percent  have received at least one dose, and 67percent  are fully vaccinated.


City News Service.

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