Los Angeles sees a decline in COVID-19 cases

USC students share concerns about another surge in infections

COVID testing site

In September, the number of new infections and hospitalizations in L.A. County dropped sharply.

The county tallied nearly half as many new infections as it did the previous month, totaling 50,731 cases and 112,763 cases respectively, according to the L.A. Public Health Department.

Additionally, the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in L.A. County dropped below 1,000 for the first time in two months — highlighting the region’s slow but steady progress in turning the tide of the latest coronavirus surge.

Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, said she believes Delta-related cases and hospitalizations are now decreasing in the county because of two factors: increased vaccination rates and natural immunity created by high transmission rates in unvaccinated populations.

More than one-third of Californians who were recently tested for antibodies appear to have some immunity against the coronavirus — either from past infection or from the vaccine, according to estimates from the California Department of Public Health.

However, as fall break, a holiday that could lead to increased infection rates, approaches, USC students share concerns about another surge in infections.

“I feel like it will increase, but only slightly. I know that people are traveling for a break and so am I,” said Nikisha Roberts, a senior computer science major “But overall, I’m not too worried.”

Some students fear COVID-19 cases may rise following the break due to unvaccinated students traveling.

With large lecture halls and the return of guests in USC housing, Karly Kortbein, a freshman environmental science major, worries about in-class transmission.

“It’s really important on-campus that we keep the COVID rate down because I think it would be really terrible if people started going to class with 400 people altogether in a lecture hall and then COVID could spread,” Kortbein said.

“Although vaccination does keep the numbers down and keeps people alive and out of hospitals, I’m still worried because there are going to be plenty of unvaccinated people who are going to travel,” said Brian Williams, a senior accounting major. “They’re going to put themselves and others at risk. "