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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

Viewpoints: Is LA County’s reopening on June 15 safe?

Looking ahead to reopening L.A.

By Tyler Dang | Staff Writer

   It has been more than a year since quarantine started. People were urged to stay at home and businesses came to a halt. As the year presses on, it is not surprising to see that California is planning a full reopening soon. Though there are some precautions to be taken, people should no longer be fearful of going outside.

   For months, state officials have been doing their best to keep control of the virus. According to a chart shown on the LA Times, California currently has 40 counties in the orange and yellow tiers, leaving 18 in the red tier. This means that those forty counties are able to open most of their businesses again.

   Governor Gavin Newsom announced earlier this month that he plans to fully reopen California on June 15. He stated that if hospitalization rates remained low and vaccines are given to all Californians who want one, the plan would continue. Although there are still cases, the health trends show that California is headed towards a safe reopening.

   As California edges towards an all orange or yellow tier map, it is completely possible that eventually the state will fully open in June. On April 15, many indoor events, such as concerts and sports, were resumed. Schools have also recently reopened, letting students learn in class with safety protocols to be followed.

   Although the mask mandate is still in place, we can see that cases have significantly lowered over the last few months. Recently have we hit an all time low in positivity rate for COVID-19 at 1.5 percent, according to Governor Newson.

   “California’s #COVID19 positivity rate is 1.5%. Not only is that the lowest in the nation — it’s the lowest positivity rate in CA since the beginning of the pandemic.” he stated in a tweet last week. 

   An interactive chart on the New York Times website also shows that cases are plateaued, ranging from 2000 to 3000 cases a day, compared to the 30,000 to 40,000 California experienced in January.

   Vaccines have also played a large role in the reopening of California. As specified by the LA Times, so far over 25.5 million doses of the vaccine have been administered to Californians. This means around 42% of individuals have at least received one dose of the vaccination.

   Multiple county officials have grown confident in beating COVID-19 as well. L.A. County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Hilda Solis told Los Angeles Daily News, “Our numbers are continuing to hold steady. The last thing we want to see, however, is the virus to come roaring back.”

   An argument can be made that not everyone will get vaccinated, and that this will be dangerous for reopening plans. However, according to Serpil Erzurum, Chair of the Learning Research Institute, it will only take 50% to 80% of vaccinated people to reach the herd immunity threshold. It is expected that those numbers will be reached by June 15. 

   Even with these numbers, a person should still get vaccinated in case another major outbreak occurs. Regardless of the plateaued rates, mass vaccinations, and movements into yellow tiers, it is still advised for people to wear masks and keep socially distant. Nevertheless, everyone should be looking forward to seeing California fully reopen once again.


Los Angeles County rushing to reopen too quickly

By Chloe Morales | Staff Writer

   Los Angeles County’s ten million residents are following a roadmap to recovery, and according to the New York Times, are “preparing to lift all its coronavirus restrictions on June 15.” After a year-long lockdown, resulting in immeasurable loss, many are eager to regain a sense of normalcy. However, despite being a welcome change for those desperate for time outside, the rapid pace at which restrictions are being lifted may do more harm than good. 

   California operates under a tier system, with five different colors representing the severity of COVID-19 rates. Blue requires people stay at home, purple means danger is still widespread, red signals that the severity is still substantial, orange means the threat is moderate, and yellow means the threat is minimal. As of April 20, The East Bay Times’ map of California county tier levels shows that Los Angeles has moved into the orange, or moderate tier, meaning many public spaces are rushing to reopen.

   On April 15, vaccines were opened up for the general population, with the minimum age requirement of 16.  The New York Times’ vaccination tracker showed that as of April 18, 42 percent of California residents have received their first dose and only 24 percent are fully vaccinated. 

   Although more vaccines are being produced and distributed, those who are under 16 will not have access to receive them until there is sufficient evidence to prove the safety and efficiency for younger age groups. 

     All of this considered, there are still people who have not received the vaccine either due to hesitation or inaccessibility.

   In fact, those from low-income areas have lower vaccination rates and therefore are more impacted by COVID-19 than higher-income areas. According to ABC7, Bel Air had “an all-time case rate of about 4,627 per 100,000 people,” while Cudahay had “an all-time case rate of more than 19,500 per 100,000 people.” Comparatively, 53 percent of adults in Bel Air are vaccinated, while only 26 percent of adults in Cudahy are vaccinated. 

   By rushing to open up the public for Los Angeles County residents, those from low-income areas will be at higher risk for contracting the disease. 

   One of the main reasons officials are pushing to open up businesses and schools is to provide relief to the economy, which has suffered as a result of the pandemic. As much as it is important to move forward with reopening, it is not safe to do so when less than half Los Angeles County residents are fully vaccinated. 

   According to Los Angeles Times, “As of [April 14], the country’s seven-day average of daily coronavirus cases was 69,577- up 31% from a month ago.” 

  With relaxed precautions and less enforcement of masks, opening up the public presents the risk of a fourth wave. 

   While eating in restaurants, hanging out with friends, and simply going out for tasks that are non-essential may seem tempting, it is important to remember that there is still a pandemic. Vaccines, although effective, are not a substitute for wearing masks, staying indoors, and practicing social distancing. People can still contract the virus and spread it to others while fully vaccinated. 

   After a year of uncertainty, it can finally be said that there is an end to this pandemic. Even if that may not be until after June, if the safety of the majority population can be ensured, it is worth holding off on reopening.

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Viewpoints: Is LA County’s reopening on June 15 safe?