California coronavirus deaths, hospitalizations decline as other states see rise

There's new evidence California is making headway in fighting the coronavirus. 

For the first time in many months critical data points show the number of deaths and hospitalizations decreasing, now at their lowest point in several months. 

Those are key metrics that help measure how well we’re doing against the virus.

It was a busy, crowded afternoon at Lake Merritt in Oakland where people strolled, shopped, and in many cases, socially-distanced.

The predominantly mask-wearing crowd exhibited behaviors doctors attribute to helping curb the spread of COVID.

“I just think that we’re getting better at social distancing and wearing our masks, and washing our hands,” said mask vendor Affiong Onana.

With fewer than 2,300 hospitalization cases Friday, California hit its lowest rate since early April.

The statewide 14-day average death rate is now at 69.1, down markedly since its peak in August.

UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong attributes the progress to behavior and improved medical protocols to fight COVID.

“A combination of those two things.  Not overwhelming the hospitals, and that, thanks to the population. And then number two is just learning the science over time,” said Dr. Peter Chin Hong with UCSF.

A vendor at Lake Merritt agrees behaviors are changing, but says he thinks it may also be motivated by money.

“Likelihood is a lot of people are running out of money and they’re just not going out as much, doing as much. That’s what I think,” said Gabriel Bronson.

While emphasizing masks and social distancing, many California cities such as Oakland are also encouraging testing.

“The testing including in Chinatown and east Oakland, Fruitvale is free. Most of the time you have to make an appointment, but you don’t need insurance, you don’t need to be documented,” said Oakland City Council member Nikki Fortunato Bas.

As Californians enjoy a Corona decline, many other states like Wisconsin, Montana, and South Dakota are seeing cases climb.

Countries abroad are also experiencing a surge, a bad omen since what happens there is usually followed in the US.

“So, I think it's just a matter of time and right now Europe is really burning up. They're talking about lockdowns in some areas again, in the UK and France,” said Dr. Chin-Hong.

In order for California to continue making progress in the fight against Covid, doctors say the public will need to continue doing the things that got us here, which is wearing a mask, social-distancing, and washing those hands.