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‘We opened up too soon’: How California went from bending the curve to coronavirus hot spot

California

(CNN) – Some scary statistics are coming out of Los Angeles, with the city reporting its highest number of coronavirus hospitalizations in one day.

What happened in the state that saw one of the strongest safety responses to the virus early on?

How did we get here?

California was the first to announce a stay-at-home order back on March 19.

Then 7 weeks later, Gov. Gavin Newsom reopened the state on May 8.

But that wasn’t to be.

By early June, the 7-day average for new daily coronavirus cases was more than 2,600.

By July 11, it peaked more than 9,400.

That’s more than a 250% increase.

When asked what went wrong in California, Anne Rimoin, a renowned epidemiologist, said, “You know, we opened up too soon. We didn’t have the virus totally under control.”

Experts agree.

Residents and local governments got complacent.

Case in point: three suburban counties near LA all lifted their mask requirements under heavy pressure from angry residetns.

Now, hard-working Americans in all three counties are seeing a COVID surge, and hospital beds are filling up.

Catherine Davis, a COVID unit nursing director, said some patients “have gone out and gone to parties, no masks.”

But Los Angeles County did and still does have strict mask requirements, as is the case in the Bay Area.

Tickets are even being issued in several California counties if you don’t complyu.

Yet, it’s still the epicenter of the California surge.

“People are not following the rules. They’re not wearing masks. They’re not social distancing,” said Rimoin.

Among them – Californians 40 and under who make up more than half of the state’s new cases.

Also hit hard – the Latino community, which makes up a third of the state’s population, but more than half of COVID infections.

“Sometimes it’s mom and dad’s work experience that has brought them into contact with it. And then it goes through the whole family,” Davis said.

Experts say fixing all this comes only one way.

“You have to just shut down for now. I think that is our only way out,” said Rimoin.

That’s not news many people want to hear, but experts say it’s the way back to normal.

Some of the hospitalized 20 and 30-year-olds are in so much pain, they can’t even turn themselves over.

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