L.A. County gives COVID shots at home. Advocates fear ‘people just don’t know about this’
At the same time, they say, county officials are failing to act on existing coronavirus precautions and putting people at risk.
As California struggles with the unprecedented challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, advocates are demanding action against “the plague” before it spreads.
On Thursday, Los Angeles County officials gave residents who visited any public place — libraries, grocery stores, schools, parks, community centers and libraries — the $15,000 coronavirus test they had been waiting almost two months for.
A few days later, the county issued a similar gift to people it deemed “key to the community.” Then, on Friday, L.A. County announced a new $10,000 gift — the equivalent of two COVID-19 tests.
On Sunday, county officials gave the gift to people who attended the Los Angeles Dodgers game, which was canceled because of the coronavirus.
This kind of generosity is “ridiculous,” said Dr. Jeffrey Baker, assistant professor at the UCLA School of Public health. It’s “not how a society should work” and “certainly makes a mockery” of this pandemic, he said.
“Just looking at the numbers of people with severe or fatal disease, many have underlying medical conditions,” Baker said. “I don’t know if the people who got this were sick or if they were very healthy.”
Baker says the tests, which he believes were donated by drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, are of dubious value.
He says, for example, some of their findings may have come from people who had underlying conditions, such as diabetes, which make them more likely to have severe outcomes from the virus. They don’t understand how that could affect a test they might get.
On the other hand, he said, he has seen many people who took the test with positive results. “I think that this is actually useful,” he said.
Baker said the test costs just $15 and is quick and easy to administer.
It’s also free: They don’t need any special permission from L.A. County officials, and can be used by anyone.