Los Angeles County reported 1,032 new cases of COVID-19 and 41 new deaths today in the daily total published by the Department of Health. That brings the Los Angeles County total to date to 44,055 cases and 2,090 deaths in the pandemic.
The county crossed the total of 2,000 deaths on Thursday. The total death toll in the United States is close to 100,000.
Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, identified the Los Angeles metropolitan area and two other major cities on Friday as places of concern because they have a "persistent high number of cases" but still remain closed. He also cited Washington, D.C. and Chicago as hotspots, and asked the Centers for Disease Control to work with metropolitan areas to study where cases come from and find a way to prevent them in the future.
But Birx's comments contrasted somewhat with those of Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County director of public health, who was more optimistic when asked about the progress of the Los Angeles area.
Ferrer said the data shows that staying home and other COVID precautions are slowing down the spread of the virus.
The news from the County Health Department comes as businesses and facilities are gradually reopening. Although severe restrictions still apply, including wearing masks when outdoors and the number of people who can gather, trends seem to indicate that social distancing measures and closings are working.
Ted Johnson and Tom Tapp contributed to this report.