The Los Angeles County Department on Health believes that it's "high likely" that celebrations surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers NBA title could be the cause for the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases in the city. Los Angeles had under 1,000 new coronavirus cases on a daily basis earlier in October, but that number recently rose to 1,200 new cases per day.
After the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals earlier this month, many fans took to the streets to celebrate the victory. About one thousand people were celebrating and from photos of the crowds, it was clear that social distancing was not taking place.
"It is impossible to determine the exact exposures that contributed to this increase," the Los Angeles Department of 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."
Los Angeles County health officials now fear that the recent spike in COVID-19 cases can get worse if the Los Angeles Dodgers win the World Series. Game 6 takes place on Tuesday and a Dodgers victory over the Rays would result in the team's seventh World Series title -- and their first since 1988. The World Series games are taking place at Globe Life Field in Texas.
"As fans continue to watch and celebrate the mighty LA sport teams, we are mindful that if individuals are not adhering to the health officer order requirements of distancing, infection control and masking, cases will continue to rise which, unfortunately, not only leads to increased illness and death, but also slows down our recovery journey," the Los Angeles Health Department said.
According to the LA Times, there have been 300,000 COVID-19 cases and 7,000 deaths in Los Angeles County since the coronavirus pandemic began in the United States in March.