LA TIMES – Americans have been urged to learn to live with the coronavirus, but this summer, hundreds were still dying from it each day.
The death toll has fallen from the grim peaks of past surges, but has persisted in recent months, averaging more than 400 lives lost a day from June through August, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
At that rate, COVID still amounts to one of the biggest causes of death in the U.S., even as public officials herald the availability of vaccines and treatments.
The coronavirus “no longer controls our lives,” President Biden declared this spring and again this summer. His COVID-19 coordinator has stated that most COVID deaths are now preventable.
Yet in Los Angeles County, more people died of COVID between May and July this year than during the same months last year. The virus claimed the lives of nearly 800 people in L.A. County in those months, compared with nearly 500 a year earlier.
Elderly people bore the brunt of that increase, with a death rate that had tripled among people who had reached their 80th birthday.
“There’s no question in my mind that ageism has been an enabling aspect of our inadequate response to COVID,” said Dr. Michael Wasserman, a geriatrician and chair of the public policy committee for the California Assn. of Long Term Care Medicine.
Across California, roughly half of COVID deaths this summer were among people who had reached age 80 or older, and nearly one-third were between 65 and 79, a Times analysis of state data found.
Men remain more likely to die than women, according to L.A. County data. The toll of the pandemic has also continued to follow longstanding patterns of racial inequality:
Black Californians had the highest rates of death from COVID across the state in recent months, a pattern that persisted in most age groups, The Times’ analysis found …