As mobility begins researchers project a rise in California COVID-19 cases

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer says, "I think we're all concerned that as we're out more it could lead to more people dying." That's her reaction to news over the weekend from a University of Washington research center that we could have 6,000 COVID-19 deaths in California by the end of August.

That number is about 1,400 more than previously projected as we start to become mobile again. 

Dr. Ali Mokdad is the Chief Strategy Officer for Population Health at the University of Washington. It's their Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation that released the new projections. 

Mokdad says before April 10 things were pretty controlled with most of us staying at home and practicing social distancing when we're out.  Mokdad says somehow on April 10th in anticipation of the relaxation of social distancing people in California started moving out and the numbers of cases in California started going up. Now as we start to creep out of our homes it could go up more. 

He says, "so when people start going out and are interacting with others that's how you spread the virus."

And, Ferrer says, "...we're going to have to watch our numbers really really closely. Right now, we have a fair amount of stability. We've actually had some tiny decreases. If we were to see the kind of spike predicted in that model that would be worrisome."

Ferrer suggests that it might cause us to put the brakes on loosening restrictions too much. 

Meanwhile, Mokdad says here in Southern California we have so many people that we could have more problems. There could be a summer spike. He says this has happened in other countries.

He says as they've loosened restrictions, "the virus came back so there is a risk of the virus coming back and you have to be very careful. We're not out of danger right now."

But, there is a way to stay out of danger. Both health officials say wash your hands, don't touch your face, wear a mask, stay at home, and if you go out, social distance because being too close is how the virus spreads.

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