COVID-19 in Southern California


Courtesy of Yahoo News

In Southern California, testing for COVID-19 is increasing as cases continue to rise.

Fiona Salisbury, Photojournalist

As COVID-19 cases surge across the entire country, Southern California has found itself to be the current epicenter of the pandemic. Southern California is no stranger to the devastating effects of the pandemic, but the number of new cases per day has exceeded over 46,000 according to the Los Angeles Times. Even though new cases are being reported at alarmingly high rates, an increasing number of people have begun ignoring safety protocols. 

Over the holiday season, many families traveled to spend the holidays with people outside of their direct family. After the Thanksgiving season, a spike in cases, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred. According to the Washington Post, air travel over the holiday season was the busiest it had been since the start of the pandemic. The Transportation and Security Administration estimates that 17 million people passed through its checkpoints between December 18 and January 3. With this many people traveling all within a short period of time, experts are certain that a spike will occur.

Despite cases already being high over the holiday break, thousands of people found themselves attending large parties over New Years’ in Los Angeles. According to the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles Police Department broke up at least eight large parties, including one party with over 1,000 people which took place in a large warehouse. People who attended claimed that they wanted to enjoy their lives while they are still young; however, by attending these parties, they not only endanger their own health, but also the health of those they come in contact with.

As a result of the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles, hospitals have been overwhelmed. According to ABC News, hospitals are overwhelmed to the point where ambulances must wait up to eight hours to offload the patients, or in some cases, ambulances are told to take the patient elsewhere. Medical staff is already being physically, mentally, and emotionally drained, so the expected spike in cases will likely be detrimental to Southern California’s healthcare system.

Despite all of the negativity, there is still some reason to be optimistic. According to Mercury News, 1.5% of California residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine. While this percentage lags behind most other states, California is working to increase its ability to distribute vaccines. According to NBC Los Angeles, Disneyland has announced that it will be Orange County’s first Point-of-Dispensing site for vaccines. This means that this site will potentially be able to vaccinate thousands of Orange County residents in the near future.

Even in Yorba Linda, it is becoming more clear just how many cases there really are in our community. Frequently, students at Yorba Linda High School receive emails regarding students and staff who have tested positive for COVID-19. Over the winter break, the number of students attending in-person classes has dramatically decreased. Abigail Lee (10) says that “It is disappointing to see the number of people in our community who blatantly ignore public health protocols.”  Because of this, students should keep in mind that no matter how much they want to return to pre-pandemic life, right now cases are rising in the area. In order for life to return to the way it was before, people need to start prioritizing their safety and the safety of everyone else in the community.