February 4, 2022
COVID-19 has been the leading cause of death in Los Angeles County for the past two years, surpassing coronary heart disease, according to announcement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health on Thursday.
Between March 2020 and December 2021, Los Angeles County recorded 24,947 deaths from COVID-19. At the same time, 21,513 residents died from coronary heart disease, which is historically the leading cause of death nationwide. In addition, 3,422 people died of pneumonia and flu during that time.
Although the latest increase in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant has subsided, the elderly and unvaccinated people still face high risks of serious illness, hospitalization and death, the health department said.
“Unfortunately, despite vaccine availability and the dominance of Omicron, which generally causes less severe disease than previous variants, deaths from COVID-19 still far outnumber deaths from other respiratory diseases,” the announcement said.
Prior to the pandemic, coronary heart disease mortality regularly doubled all other causes of death in the county, according to until the deadline. In 2017, for example, coronary heart disease accounted for more than 11,000 deaths, followed by Alzheimer’s disease with 4,100 deaths. About 2,000 people died from pneumonia and flu.
About 82% of eligible Los Angeles County residents received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, according to data latest data from the health department. About 73% were fully vaccinated and 34% received a supplementary vaccine.
Children aged 5 to 11 have the lowest vaccination rate, 32% received a single dose and 23% were fully vaccinated. During January, ages 5 to 11 accounted for 15% of all COVID-19 cases in the county despite making up 9% of the population.
“Children become infected with COVID-19,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of public health during a news briefing on Thursday.
Ferrer pointed to a recent analysis that showed that Americans are dying from COVID-19 twice as fast as in the UK and four times more than in Germany, citing a low vaccination rate as the most likely reason.
“These local and national findings are important reminders that COVID has led to unimaginable illness and death,” she said. “Increasing vaccination rates and adjunctive therapy offers the best hope for reducing the most tragic outcome of COVID infection.”