To face the explosion in the number of deaths linked to Covid-19, Los Angeles County must lift its restrictions on cremations. They are usually limited in order to limit polluting emissions.
As we know, the Covid-19 pandemic, by slowing down industrial activity and our travel for nearly a year very sharply, has significantly reduced pollutant emissions in 2020. But the virus does not only have consequences positive for the environment: by causing an increase in mortality, it generates an increase in cremations, which emit a lot of pollutants: carbon monoxide of course, but also sulfur and chlorine compounds, and traces of mercury, in particular linked to high heat vaporization of dental amalgam.
In most countries, restrictions exist in order to limit the daily emissions related to these cremations. But in Los Angeles, until January 27, these restrictions will be lifted to allow crematoriums to cope with the massive influx of bodies. More than 2,700 deceased people are currently awaiting cremation in the city’s cold rooms. And the rate of Covid-19-related deaths continues to grow: between 60 and 180 people die from it daily in the county of one of the largest cities in the United States.
Los Angeles death rate doubled
The death rate in Los Angeles County has more than doubled in recent days. And the curve may not turn for several weeks, with experts fearing an increase in the number of deaths in the 4 to 6 weeks following the holiday season. However, the crematoriums are already running at full speed. The authorities in charge of regulating activities affecting air quality therefore had to consent to lifting the restrictions on the number of bodies that can be cremated. This decision is valid until January 27.
The Californian variant involved in this increase in cases and deaths
The rebound in the epidemic could, in Los Angeles, be linked to a new variant. Known as L452R, this mutation of the virus was first detected in Denmark in March. She appeared in May 2020 in California. Particularly contagious, this variant of SARS-Cov2 concerned only less than 4% of cases at the beginning of December, and already more than 25% of cases at the end of December: in five weeks, 400,000 new contaminations were recorded in Los Angeles.
The United States faces an unprecedented wave of cases
The United States is still the country most affected both in terms of the number of deaths (more than 384,000 since the start of the epidemic) and number of cases (more than 23 million). The sad record for the number of deaths in one day was recorded on Tuesday, January 19, standing at more than 4,470.
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