Mayor Eric Garcetti Wednesday urged all Los Angeles residents to get a flu shot before the typical season hits this fall to avoid possibly overwhelming hospitals with cases of influenza and COVID-19.
"I need you to do one more thing that you add to that list to protect yourselves and your family and your loved ones," Garcetti said. "Every Angeleno has a critical role to play in preventing a worst-case scenario. Doctors are already talking about (the flu) ... saying this could be the worst phase of this pandemic, just in the next couple months.''
Garcetti said if the area's hospitals are overrun by cases of COVID-19 and the flu together, everything residents have worked for by staying home and avoiding gatherings could be threatened.
"We cannot let that happen. We will not let that happen. Now is the time for you and your family to go get a flu shot,'' Garcetti said.
The number of new people being admitted to hospitals for COVID-19 has gone down in recent weeks, and transmission continues to remain low, the mayor said, but he cautioned that one event could cause the virus to spread rapidly once again.
Garcetti said the latest county data show the age group with the highest number of COVID-19 positive cases are people between 30 and 49 years old, with people 18 to 29 years old having the second-highest rate.
"That's a sign that the restlessness may be especially prevalent among younger Angelenos, who have heard over and over again that they're safe from this virus. They don't have to worry. They won't die,'' Garcetti said.
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"But that isn't true. This virus can have a lasting effect ... more and more research is telling us how many young people and healthy people are being infected and how much they have to lose if they are.
"Even if this disease doesn't kill you, it can change your life forever."
Garcetti mentioned a recent report from The Atlantic that cited a study finding that it's more likely for a 30-year-old person to suffer a months-long illness from contracting COVID-19 than it is for a 60-year-old person to die from it.
As of Thursday, 12 Los Angeles city employees had died from complications due to COVID-19, Garcetti said. The latest city employee who died was a longtime worker for the Department of Recreation and Parks.
Garcetti said he and county Supervisor Kathryn Barger met with U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Tuesday to discuss what's been done in the Los Angeles area to prevent the spread of the virus and to eliminate racial disparities in infection rates.
Garcetti said he told the surgeon general that the message he wants to send to Washington, D.C., is that cities across the nation need federal financial assistance as soon as possible and that congress should put politics aside to get a deal passed.