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Los Angeles Covid Surge Being Driven By White, Affluent Neighborhoods

Covid cases continued to rise in Los Angeles County on Thursday, albeit more slowly. The raw number of daily cases rose 17% in the past week, to 3,248. That’s roughly half of the 7,458 cases recorded in California on Thursday, even though Los Angeles County’s population accounts for only roughly 25% of the state’s residents.

Driving this rise, according to Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, have been more affluent communities on the West Side including Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, Beverly Crest, Venice, Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Encino. The winter surge was driven by higher case rates in Central L.A. See map below.

Map of surging case rates in Los Angeles. Green areas are from winter surge. Orange are the current suge.

L.A.’s average daily case rate had risen to 15.7 per 100,000, according to Public Health Data. That rise, according to County officials has been driven chiefly by a more than fivefold rise in case rates among white residents of L.A., from 18 per 100,000 on June 19 to 83 per 100,000 on July 17. That’s compared with a fourfold increase among the county’s Black and Asian populations and a nearly threefold increase among Latino residents.

“White residents — who have traditionally experienced lower case rates than LatinX and Asian residents — are now second (in raw case rate) only to Black residents,” said Ferrer.

See chart below.


According to Ferrer, the increase in more affluent areas of the city is being driven by a younger, less-vaccinated population. “Transmission in these neighborhoods is mostly being spread among young adults,” she said, before speculating on other factors behind the increase. She ventured that these are “people with resources who can now go out and about more,” to restaurants, social gatherings or large parties, even if they are not vaccinated.

Asked about the danger to the county’s approximately 1.5 million children below 12, who are not cleared for vaccination but about to start school, Ferrer lauded the efforts of school administrators and teachers over the summer and said, “There’s no consideration for closing schools.”

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