As the coronavirus pandemic rages on across the country and around the world, health officials in California are sharing a dire warning about family gatherings.
In a press conference on Monday, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis opened her remarks with the reminder that “dying from COVID in the hospital means dying alone.”
She added families have been saying their goodbyes on tablets and mobile phones.
“One of the more heartbreaking conversations that our healthcare workers share is about these last words when children apologize to their parents and grandparents for bringing COVID into their homes, for getting them sick. And these apologies are just some of the last words that loved ones will ever hear as they die alone,” she said.
“Please don’t let this be your family. Don’t let this be your parents or your grandparents,” she continued. “Please, for your loved ones, stay home, stay safe, keep your loved ones alive.”
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California has been especially hard hit by the virus, with the most cases per state in the nation, according to data compiled by NBC News. The Los Angeles Department of Public Health said Tuesday that in the county alone, more than 1,600 people have died from the coronavirus over the past seven days. That’s a rate of roughly one death every six minutes, NBC Los Angeles reported. Across the state, more than 30,000 people have died from the coronavirus.
According to data from NBC News, there have been a total of 379,836 deaths in the United States during the pandemic and 22.8 million confirmed cases as of Tuesday night.
Two vaccines have been authorized to fight the virus, which offers some hope for an end to the pandemic, though the rollout has been slowed by limited supplies and logistical difficulties. Tuesday, federal officials instructed states to expand access to COVID-19 vaccines to include everyone 65 and older, as well as any adults with underlying health conditions that would put them more at risk. Federal officials said they hoped the new guidelines will prompt faster distribution of the vaccines by making more people immediately eligible for vaccination and expanding the potential locations where people can receive it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 27.7 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been delivered nationwide as of Tuesday evening, but just 9.3 million had been administered.