U.S. most populous county reports highest daily COVID-19 deaths since March 2021

U.S. Los Angeles County reported on Thursday 102 new COVID-19 deaths, the highest daily number in a single day since March 2021.

The Los Angeles County Public Health Department said in a statement that the number of new COVID-related deaths doubled in the past week and 90 percent of the deaths reported Thursday involved people who fell ill from the fatal virus after Dec. 24, “indicating the high likelihood of infection with the Omicron variant.”

“As deaths often lag behind surges in cases and hospitalizations, we may see an even higher number of deaths in the coming weeks,” the statement warned.

Of the 102 new deaths reported Thursday, more than 70 percent are elders over 65 years old, the data from the department showed.

The average daily new case rate in Los Angeles County is now at about 33,000 cases a day, the test positivity rate is approximately 17 percent and the seven-day average daily case rate is about 350 new cases per 100,000 residents, said county public health director Barbara Ferrer.

The department also found a gap in COVID-19 death rates across races and ethnicities.

“The rate of deaths for Black residents is 3.5 deaths per 100,000 people and 3 deaths per 100,000 for Latinx residents. This is compared to the lower death rate for White residents at 2.5 deaths per 100,000 residents and Asian residents at 1 death per 100,000 residents,” said the statement, adding that a further widening of these gaps could be seen in the weeks to come.