In May, seen from a still armored New York, California seemed a (relatively) happy land : few cases of Covid-19, very few deaths, the beaches reopened. The governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, criticized by Trump for his severity, also maintained the lockdown for Memorial Day, the long bridge in late May that has always inaugurated the summer season in America. Californian Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat like Cuomo, earned praise from the president for the decision to reopen California, but also for the overall management of the crisis.
That of the great state of the West Coast, the most populous in America, actually seemed like a success story : the pandemic kept away, according to some, thanks to the effectiveness of monitoring and prevention measures, according to others above all for the different nature of the places: the warmth and natural social distancing of Los Angeles, a metropolis as vast as an entire region, with effective environmental protection against the winter frost and the strong housing density of New York where the coronavirus had wreaked havoc.
Not anymore: since that reopening in late May things have changed in many parts of America. While New York has brought Covid-19 under control, at least thirty US states have crashed. We have often spoken of Florida and Arizona mortality records and hospital emergencies in Texas.
But in the meantime, California has reached the sad record of contagions – over half a million – even exceeding those of New York State, concentrated last winter. There are far fewer deaths (9,500 compared to 32,000 in New York), but deaths have grown rapidly in July with three records in the week just ended (214 deaths only on Friday).
Newsom, always very active, is launching new emergency plans to monitor and sanitize the most affected areas: the counties of Los Angeles, Orange in the south of the state and the agricultural ones of the Central Valley. As happened in other parts of America, the virus mainly affects the poorest regions and communities: agricultural areas, African Americans and, above all, Latinos, infected by the virus at a rate three times higher than the rest of the population. Unlike other regions where young people are also starting to register victims, the pandemic in California continues to kill almost only the elderly.
The deceased were largely over 65 years old (4,000 deaths in nursing homes), while under the age of 18 there is only one victim: a boy who had other serious diseases.