LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Hours before the Dodgers were poised to win their seventh World Series title, Los Angeles County health officials told Angelenos to “slow the spread” of COVID-19 by avoiding celebratory gatherings or even limited private game-watching events.
County’s health officer Dr. Muntu Davis referenced “private gatherings and public celebrations” in a health advisory released Monday night warning of the dangers of event such as the mass gatherings of Laker fans in downtown L.A. following the team’s NBA title win earlier this month.
“We have a lot to celebrate in the county, and it is critical that we all take action to slow the spread as we do,” Davis said in a statement. “That means not participating in public celebrations of any kind, which are high-risk. There have been too many instances of people unknowingly spreading the virus at these types of gatherings, which, sadly, has led to new infections, serious illness and death.”
Speaking at the police commission meeting Tuesday, LAPD Chief Michel Moore also urged people to stay home and said officers would be deployed across the city.
Earlier Monday, county public health director Barbara Ferrer cited a jump in average daily coronavirus cases and pointed directly to sports viewing as a driver of case increases.
“The downside of this is during a pandemic some of the things we’ve done in the past just don’t make sense. Gathering in large crowds to watch games indoors, people aren’t wearing their face coverings, people are yelling a lot. That’s just not sensible,” she said. “Even gathering outdoors at dining areas and watching games with hundreds of people and celebrating by jumping up and down with no masks on, hugging perfect strangers, again with a lot of shouting and cheering. It’s so easy to spread this virus.”
With younger residents driving the county’s new case increases, Ferrer said gatherings of sports fans appear to be “contributing the most” to the spike.
On Monday, deaths attributed to COVID-19 topped the 7,000 mark and the total number of cases passed 300,000.