L.A. County strongly recommends indoor masking as COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations jump to 3,000, while daily deaths reach 6
Los Angeles County has a long history of not only controlling influenza, polio, diphtheria, measles and other contagious diseases, but also preventing outbreaks of deadly and sometimes debilitating diseases.
“As a former epidemiologist-in-training, my first priority was to serve the public interest,” said former county epidemiologist Michael Weinstein.
Over the years, the county’s Public Health Division’s influenza programs have been “extremely successful” in preventing the spread of flu.
Today, as the coronavirus spreads like wildfire throughout the country and as health care services are under siege, Weinstein is concerned that the public will not be receiving its regular influenza vaccines.
“Many will die without vaccination,” said Weinstein, who is director of the county’s Division of Public Health.
The flu is now the leading cause of death in the United States for people aged 65 and older — a fact made dramatically clear by the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
By comparison, the coronavirus causes only a small fraction of the U.S. deaths while spreading quickly.
And, according to the latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only one-third of the U.S. population has had an influenza vaccination in the past year.
While the flu vaccine is routinely recommended every year for those aged six months and older, a large majority of the population, including most children and the elderly, have not received an influenza vaccine during the past 12 months.
That’s because, as the coronavirus is a global health threat, many U.S. counties have decided to postpone or cancel the influenza vaccine due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In San Francisco, where the coronavirus originated earlier this month, officials decided there was not enough time to manufacture the vaccine and postpone the flu vaccination program for the 2020-2021 season.
“We can’t make the vaccine in a timely manner and then have to cancel it when the pandemic is over,” said San Francisco