Coronavirus: Deaths dip in California, but not Bay Area

Coronavirus: Deaths dip in California, but not Bay
Area 1

Counties around California reported dramatically fewer deaths Tuesday than seven days ago, lowering the state’s daily average for the past week to its lowest point in months. The Bay Area, however, saw no such progress.

There were another 81 fatalities from COVID-19 reported statewide, including 18 in the Bay Area, according to data compiled by this news organization. That means, for the first time since the week that ended July 6, there were fewer than 500 fatalities from COVID-19 in California over the past week; the 470 total, or about 67 per day, was about 20% fewer than two weeks ago.

The sharp decline in deaths Tuesday followed weeks of little movement in the number of virus cases reported each day. On Tuesday, after another 2,657 cases were reported around the state, the average of about 3,180 per day had declined about 11% in two weeks, compared to nearly 20% in each of the two past two-week periods.

“That number of cases on a daily basis will certainly challenge our counties ability and our statewide ability to do the right disease investigation and contact tracing,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in a virtual update Tuesday. “Although there is some encouragement here, there is work to do.”

In the Bay Area, which had slightly outpaced the state’s plateau in cases, the deaths reported Tuesday were spread amongst six counties; it was the largest single-day tally of deaths in the region in two weeks, since Sept. 23.

Contra Costa County reported five new deaths, followed by four in Marin County, three in San Francisco, and two each in Alameda, San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

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A total of 83 deaths were reported in the Bay Area over the past week, or an average of about 12 per day. That’s about as many as there were two weeks ago but still 20% fewer than a month ago.

After Tuesday, the region’s death toll stood at 1,599, led by 427 in Alameda County. There have been 345 deaths reported in Santa Clara County, 218 in Contra Costa, 154 in San Mateo, 123 in Marin (including San Quentin State Prison), 122 in Sonoma and 111 in San Francisco; no other jurisdiction in the region reaches triple digits.

On a per-capita basis, no county in the core Bay Area has reported fewer deaths than San Francisco (which also claims the lowest death rate of all major cities in the U.S.). Santa Clara, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Solano counties also rank among the bottom half of California’s counties in deaths per-capita. No county in the region has reported fewer cases per-capita than Santa Clara, even though it has reported the most overall.

The largest share of the statewide death toll came in Los Angeles County, where there were 27 fatalities reported Tuesday to raise its cumulative total to 6,681 – about 41% of the 16,260 reported to date in the state. For comparison, the Bay Area accounts for about 20% of California’s population vs. LA’s 25% share, but about 10% of the total deaths.

Recently, however, the Bay Area’s share of the deaths has been more in line with its population.

Over the past week, about 17.5% of the deaths statewide have occurred in the Bay Area; on Tuesday, the share was 22%.

Nationwide, the death toll crossed 210,000 on Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. Fewer than 8% of those have come in California, lower than its 12% share of the population, despite the state leading the nation in cases.

The 838,000-plus cases in California account for about 11% of the 7.5 million known cases in the U.S., which has reported more cases and deaths from COVID-19 than any other country in the world.

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