Sports | October 27, 2020 12:17 pm

Celebrating LA Fans Likely Driving Spike in COVID-19 Cases

It’s "highly likely" local fans cheering on the Lakers and Dodgers are contributing to the rise

Los Angeles Lakers fans
Los Angeles Lakers fans gather near the Staples Center to celebrate the team.
Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The top health organization in Los Angeles said it is “highly likely” that sports fans celebrating the playoff success of the Dodgers and Lakers have contributed to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the area.

The Lakers won the NBA championship two weeks ago and fans, many of whom were not wearing masks, celebrated outside Staples Center. Another celebration in L.A. could be on the way as the Dodgers are one game away from winning the World Series. The postseason runs of both teams prompted watch parties and other gatherings of fans that likely led to the spread of the coronavirus throughout Los Angeles County.

The average number of new daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county has increased from 900 a day in early October to 1,200 a day now.

“It is impossible to determine the exact exposures that contributed to this increase,’’ the LA County Department of Public Health told USA Today. “However, it is highly likely that gatherings to watch and/or celebrate the Lakers, along with any other gatherings that occurred 2-3 weeks ago where people weren’t wearing face coverings and were in close contact with each other, contributed to the rise in LA County cases.’’

With 10 million residents, Los Angeles County is the largest in the country.

“We’ve been seeing, first, very low case numbers a couple weeks ago and then in the last few days very high case numbers,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told the Associated Press. “Now that we’ve processed the backlog of cases from the state, and analyzed the numbers by episode date, it is clear that our cases increased. This increase is not as steep as what we saw in July, but this is a cause of concern.”

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