Coronavirus: Nearing the peak? Many wonder what low number of new infections in LA County will mean

While officials warn the latest figure does not necessarily point to a downward trend, many people are wondering if Los Angeles County is nearing the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.
LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The Los Angeles County Public Health Department reported on Monday a significantly lower number of new infections. But while officials warn that figure does not necessarily point to a downward trend, many people are wondering if we are nearing the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak.

"We expect the epidemic to continue with increased ICU bed days, right through the end of May," said Dr. Christopher Murray of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Dr. Murray is referring to the country as a whole, but a University of Washington website tracking COVID-19 cases in California predicted to be hospitalizations to peak Monday at 5,238 beds being used.

That estimate is fairly consistent with the actual number of hospitalizations on April 11, which came to 5,234 according to the California Health Department. Fortunately, neither number is close to the more than 26,000 beds now available in California.

But Los Angeles County officials say figuring out when COVID-19 cases will top-out isn't necessarily that important.

"What will indicate a peak is in retrospect when we see those numbers coming down," said Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director of the Los Angeles County Health Services Department. "I don't think the peak is either possible to predict at this point or the most useful way to look at it."

A post-peak concern, though, would be a rush back to normalcy that could spark another rapid spread of the virus.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to release on Tuesday a comprehensive plan for how the state moves forward, away from physical distancing, but at the appropriate time and pace.

"It's a vexing prospect," Newsom said in his Monday press briefing. "To figure out a way of doing this where we don't invite a second wave, where we don't let down our guard, where we don't put ourselves in the position where we regret moving too quickly."
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