LA exceeds 1 million cases of coronavirus; Officials identify first case of British strain – Deadline

Los Angeles County, which has become the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, has reached its darkest milestone, as officials confirm more than a million total cases of Covid-19.

The county continues its trend of at least 100,000 new cases every week, with Los Angeles registering a total of 1,003,923 cases to date. Saturday’s figures confirm 14,669 new cases of Covid-19 and 253 new deaths, bringing LA to a total of 13,741 deaths.

To date, 7,597 people are currently hospitalized, 22% of patients receiving ICU care.

In addition to the latest tally, public health officials in Los Angeles have confirmed the first case of the B.1.1.7 variant of the British coronavirus. The varying tension, which drove the UK into yet another lockdown, is more contagious, officials say.

Although Saturday may mark the strain’s first reported appearance in Los Angeles County, the new strain of coronavirus had already passed through southern California, including San Diego and San Bernadino. Earlier this month, officials confirmed 2 new cases of the most contagious variant in the Big Bear area. Prior to that, the strain had been found in Colorado, marking the first US case of the Covid-19 variant.

The CDC warns that the presence of B.1.1.7 may mark a new phase of “exponential growth” in total Covid-19 cases.

While the vaccine rollout may be a silver lining amid soaring numbers and the emergence of new B.1.1.7 variant, officials warn LA County could see darker days.

“Current expert projections predict that if left unchecked, this variant could dominate locally by March,” Los Angeles director of public health Barbara Ferrer said on Friday.

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