By almost all major metrics, the spread of the virus is profoundly more severe in Southern California. The San Francisco Bay Area has 4 percent of its intensive care beds still available and the far north of California 25 percent. Southern California hit zero percent weeks ago.
Los Angeles County has reported more cases this week than San Francisco has reported throughout the pandemic.
“It’s day and night,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, professor and head of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.
The reasons for the split, according to experts, are complex and numerous.
The Bay Area has one of the highest average incomes in California, possibly giving residents more ways to protect themselves. Many in the North are employed in the tech industry, which at the onset of the pandemic led to working from home. Compared to Southern California, the Bay Area also has a higher percentage of White and Asian households, groups that had the lowest infection rates in the state.
In the Los Angeles area, in the parking lot outside the Huntington Park Community Hospital, Mr Estrada saw more than a dozen bodies brought into an unmarked white refrigerated container, the makeshift mortuary.
“You basically wait until you see your family member come out in a bag,” he says.
Her 72-year-old grandmother was recently placed on a ventilator.
“She’s fighting right now,” he said. “So if she’s fighting, we have to stay here fighting for her.
Manny Fernandez reported from Los Angeles, Thomas fuller from Moraga, California, and Mitch smith from Chicago. Reporting was contributed by Louis keene of Huntington Park, California, Ana Facio-Krajcer from Los Angeles and Joe Purtell from San Francisco.