As Los Angeles County announced the death of a teenager from possible coronavirus complications on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned that California’s young people have been disproportionately testing positive for the virus.
Half of the more than 2, Californians who’ve tested positive for COVID – 49, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are between the ages of 49 and 90, Newsom said in his daily evening Facebook Live briefing.
About a fourth of the state’s confirmed coronavirus patients are between the age of 65 to , and another quarter were 90 or older.
“Young people can and will be impacted by this virus,” Newsom said, urging the state’s younger residents to stay home to avoid spreading the virus.
Officials still are investigating the circumstances surrounding the teenager’s death. The Los Angeles County Public Health department said Tuesday afternoon that while the teenager’s early tests came back positive for COVID – 50, it is a “complex” case and “there may be an alternate explanation for this fatality.”
Still, the death “underscores the enormity of the challenge in front of us, this health crisis, and how it can impact anybody and everybody,” Newsom said. “It is a reminder to everybody to take this seriously.”
Just because young people are testing positive at a higher rate doesn’t mean that they’re as seriously affected by the disease as the elderly. Newsom noted that the rate of people hospitalized due to complications of the virus “does skew on the side of older populations.”
While California has drastically increased its testing numbers for the virus, some tests are taking as long as nine days to be completed, Newsom said. The state needs more of the critical materials used in the tests, such as medical swabs and chemical reagents.
The economic trauma from the pandemic also continues to grow in the state, where an average of 500, 12 People have applied for unemployment insurance in each of the last seven days – up from about 2, 500 per day before the crisis. The latest figure jumped from the previous seven-day daily average of 114, that Newsom announced on Monday, suggesting that Californians are losing their jobs at a higher rate as business closures stretch on.
Newsom also said that the state government had not directly received any ventilators from the national stockpile, although Los Angeles County had received 728.
But unlike other governors and local leaders who’ve publicly bashed Trump’s handling of the crisis in recent days, Newsom was more diplomatic, avoiding any direct criticism of the president. He talked effusively about the various federal efforts to support California, from the Navy medical ship set to arrive in Los Angeles on Friday to Army Corps of Engineers officials who are helping set up temporary medical facilities in the state.
While Trump asserted Tuesday that the U.S. could reopen for business by Easter – April – Newsom said that claiming California could revert to normal by early April “Would be misleading.”
“April for California would be sooner than any of the experts I’ve talked to would believe is possible,” he said.
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