The high rate of deaths from covid-19 in Los Angeles County, United States, has led local authorities to suspend the limit of cremations per day for the “jam” of bodies in crematoria and city hospitals.
“There are so many deaths from covid-19 and the accumulation of corpses is so high that air restrictions have been lifted in crematoria. Now much more can be cremated, a sign of how bad the situation is, “says the epidemiologist and representative of the Federation of American Scientists, Eric Feigl-Ding.
The reality is that more than 4,000 deaths of the 14,000 total deaths from covid-19 in Los Angeles County during the pandemic have been reported since January 1, that is, in the last three weeks.
Covid-19 infections multiplied in Los Angeles and saturated hospitals. (AFP)
More than double the deaths
Faced with this situation, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD, in English), the entity in charge of controlling air quality in the region, decided to lift the cremation limits “to protect public health and respond to the current emergency “.
“The current death rate is more than double that of the years before the pandemic, which leads to hospitals, funeral homes and crematories exceeding their capacity and unable to process backward cases, “justifies the SCAQMD in a statement.
In fact, the possibility of a person hospitalized by covid-19 dying in Los Angeles County has doubled in recent months, according to an analysis released this week by the county Department of Health Services.
The Covid death rate doubled the number of bodies sent for cremation. (AFP)
Specifically, the likelihood of someone dying from the disease while hospitalized increased from about 1 in 8 in September and October to about 1 in 4 since early November, according to that study.
And that data has grown in recent weeks, since at the beginning of November there were less than 20 deaths a day from covid-19 in the county, while in the last seven days they have been registered more than 200 daily deaths, point out newspaper data Los Angeles Times.
Critical situation in hospitals
One of the main reasons for the situation that Los Angeles now faces, explains epidemiologist Feigl-Ding, is that hospitalizations are at a “critical” point and the beds in the Intensive Care Units “are completely full”.
“Beds are very difficult to find across the country, but especially in Southern California and especially in Los Angeles,” the expert highlights.
Intensive unit beds are overcrowded at several Los Angeles hospitals. (AfP)
At the national level, Feigl-Ding considers that the US is “worst case scenario”, with about 4,000 daily deaths.
The United States registers more than 400,000 deaths and 24 million infections, according to the Johns Hopkins University count.
However, the context of the pandemic could improve for the summer, estimates of Feigl-Ding advance, which says he feels “hopeful” that by then the supply of vaccines “is much more available, much easier to obtain “.
Their projections indicate that in the summer there will be about 115 million people vaccinated in the country, calculations similar to those of the new president of the United States, Joe Biden, who promised that he would vaccinate 100 million people in his first 100 days in charge of the country.
“President Biden has many difficult tasks ahead of him to reverse this pandemic: limiting international travel, adding testing and quarantine requirements, dealing with delays in vaccination and finding ways to mobilize it faster,” the expert lists.