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More People are Attending Public Areas Despite a Spike in COVID-19 Cases

Downtown Santa Monica, California, August 2020. More people are visiting the pier and beaches amid a spike of COVID-19 cases within various communities. (Photo Credit: Ethan Kim/ The Outspoken Oppa)

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

LOS ANGELES COUNTY- Ever since the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, health experts and doctors have advised politicians on how to proceed. Throughout the lockdown and quarantine, face coverings, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders were endorsed by various prominent figures. However, in the past few months, there has been an apparent spike in COVID-19 cases, especially in the greater Los Angeles County.

With a population of 10,079,000 people, LA County has seen various spikes in COVID-19 cases and deaths. On August 13, 2020, Los Angeles County was reported to have at least 216,000 COVID-19 cases and 5,100 overall deaths. According to the LA Times, The hospitalization rates have remained steady, but the local government may bring back additional closures.

To add on, the LA Times reports, “LA county has averaged 2,159 new cases and 43.3 new deaths per day. The number of confirmed infections is currently doubling every 74.5 days.”

A study by the Times shows an evident peak that began before and after California Governor Gavin Newsom eased COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. The graph also depicts an exponential increase in cases within the past few months.

A study created by the LA Times to observe the trend of COVID-19 cases in the Los Angeles County

Another LA Times article reports, “Officials have cautioned that the number of cases could be artificially low due to glitches in the California Reportable Disease Information Exchange electronic database that could have resulted in hundreds of thousands of lab reports not being uploaded to the database.” 

Therefore, it could be reasonably assumed that a rise in cases may lead to more caution and greater attention to hygiene. However, local residents may differ.

People gather in Venice in August 2020 (Ethan Kim/ The Oustpoken Oppa)

A few reporters from the Outspoken Oppa went down to LA County and interviewed bystanders, business owners, street vendors, joggers, and cyclists.

Reactions to questions of the lockdown were mixed. People believed that they were safe during the pandemic as long as they followed social distancing guidelines and wore a mask. While others distrusted mask-wearing and the government.

Ricardo de Soto, a middle-aged Hispanic local business owner, answered a question about the social distancing guidelines, “I believe anyone that comes into my shop must wear a mask and stay six feet apart, there are absolutely no exceptions. We are living in a dire pandemic that is killing thousands and infecting millions, which means we must all do our part.”

When asked why he does not close his business to prevent potential infections altogether, he said, “I have a family to feed and a business to maintain. I sincerely think that we can have certain parts of society open if everyone practices personal responsibility.”

However, others did not see the necessity in wearing a mask.

Helen Smith, a twenty-five-year-old Caucasian yoga teacher, answered a question about the usefulness of masks, “I do not believe masks are effective in flattening the curve. I still stay six feet apart from other people, but I have serious reservations about putting a piece of cloth over my face.”

Ms. Smith declined to answer a question asking why she thinks the President and Speaker of the House endorsed mask-wearing.

Another group of people said they were angry with the government’s response because they believed it to be an overreaction.

Adam Williams, a middle-aged African-American jogger, answered a question about the government’s response, “The government seriously overreacted to the virus. There are 330 million of us, and only 160 thousand have died from it. Doctors have contradicted each other, and politicians argue all the time. There is no one I can trust.”

Of the hundred people interviewed, seventy-five percent seemed to endorse mask-wearing but did not think staying at home was necessary, twenty percent did not think wearing a mask was necessary, and five percent believed the COVID-19 response continues to be an overreaction.

“Wear a mask,” said forty-year-old Korean business owner Morgan Lee, “It’s not that hard or a restriction of your liberty. We know very little about this pandemic, but if there is one thing we do know is that defeating this pandemic starts with a collective concern for public health.”

Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.

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