For the second day in a row, Los Angeles County reported no new COVID-19 deaths on Sunday.
It’s a huge milestone for California’s most populous area, just a few months after it went into total crisis with more than 300 people dying a day in January.
For over a year – 411 days – the county saw at least one Covid death per day. At the height of the pandemic there in January, Los Angeles was so overwhelmed by the bodies of COVID-19 victims that the morgues flooded and the parking lots became home to creepy mobile morgues.
Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom instituted some of the country’s harshest and longest-lasting lockdowns, but it seemed to do little to address California’s massive Covid crisis, which sickened more than 3.6 million people there and at least 60,763 killed.
But vaccinations have risen sharply in the province of LA, which has nearly 36 percent of the population fully vaccinated – more than the national average – and delivered at least one dose into the arms of 54 percent of residents.
From a peak of nearly 300 deaths per day in early January, LA County, California, reported no COVID deaths on Saturday, May 1 or Sunday, May 2.
Once one of the most affected states in the country, California now has the lowest daily infection rate in the US, with 2.7 cases per 100,000 people and 15 new deaths on Sunday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci noted last week that Covid cases and deaths begin to abruptly decline once a country has fully vaccinated 40 to 50 percent of its population.
The same tipping point likely applies to LA and is beginning to reduce coronavirus cases and deaths in the province.
Yesterday, Los Angeles County registered just 210 new Covid cases, against a seven-day moving average of 480 infections per day a month earlier.
But health officials warned that the zero daily death milestone could be due to an under-rating due to delays in reporting COVID numbers over the weekend, the The LA Times reports.
Health officials reported Sunday that there were 313 new cases and 410 hospitalizations on Saturday in the county, which encompasses much of the Los Angeles metropolitan area and has a population of more than 10 million people.
California now has the lowest COVID rate of any state in the country after alternating waves of death and lockdown over the past 12 months.
Disneyland reopened for the first time since the pandemic started last year, with 25% of its operational capacity. Pictured: A family takes a photo while at the amusement park, where they must keep their masks on, except while eating or drinking
The state’s seven-day moving average of new cases per capita now stands at 32.5 – well than the next lowest infection rate, which is in Oklahoma with about 40.3 new cases per 100,000 people per day according to data from the CDC .
After the declining number of cases, hospitalizations and mortality trends, the state’s playgrounds officially reopened on Monday.
The spring scenes paint a very different picture of Los Angeles than the beginning of the year.
Less than four months ago, Los Angeles County experienced its deadliest day when a record 290 deaths occurred on January 8, according to official figures.
Personal learning has finally resumed in Los Angeles, and the playground reopened on Monday
The pace of vaccinations has slowed in LA, as it has across the country, but the county has already vaccinated more than half of the population with at least one dose. Pictured: Near-empty mass vaccination site in Los Angeles Monday
The death rate quickly grew to over 40 and fluctuated between 30 and 40 until the end of August.
The state was plunged into one of the country’s strictest lockdowns, with residents only allowed to leave their homes for groceries and exercise.
California became the first state to issue statewide house arrest last spring and has endured the country’s longest blockade.
The state employed a complicated color-coded level system that would determine the constraints by province.
Restrictions were relaxed as the October death rate fell to about 15 per seven-day moving average.
But the virus stubbornly crept back during a second wave in November.
Daily deaths first reached more than 100 per day on December 11 and peaked at 290 deaths on January 9.
In January alone, 6,411 people died.
But as the introduction of the vaccine accelerated, LA County rounded the curve.
Now California has the lowest number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the country, and more than half of the population eligible for vaccination has received at least one dose.
Children are returning to in-person classes, shops and restaurants are expanding, and government Gavin Newsom has set June 15 as a target date to further reopen the economy, albeit with some health-related restrictions.
Disneyland in Los Angeles has reopened at 25 percent of its full operational capacity.
Visitors must wear masks and can only drop them off to eat in designated areas. Hugs and handshakes with characters are off limits, and parades and fireworks displays have been suspended to limit crowds.
And the city’s famous beaches, such as Venice and Malibu, have been buzzing with life for the past few weeks.
While California continues to “strongly discourage” anyone from visiting the state as a tourist, the travel industry is counting on pent-up demand from its own nearly 40 million residents for a comeback.
An advertising campaign encourages Californians to travel within the state, echoing a pitch made after 9/11.
Governor Gavin Newsom said last week that the state is reviewing its mask mandate in light of new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control that allow vaccinated people to go out maskless unless they are in a crowded area.
In the US, the 14-day mean for COVID deaths yesterday was 693, according to the New York Times tracking data.
Some districts in Michigan, Utah, Oregon, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado, and Washington state report more than 50 cases per 100,000 people.