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Data Reveals 2020 Spike in LA Homeless Deaths Wasn't Caused by COVID

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A massive spike in deaths among homeless people took place in Los Angeles County during the first year of the pandemic, but COVID-19 was not the leading cause of the spike, according to new data.

The 56 percent increase in deaths was largely due to drug overdoses, according to Fox News.

“The findings in this report reflect a true state of emergency,” said First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis in a statement. “In a civil society, it is unacceptable for any of us to not be profoundly disturbed by the shocking needs documented in this year’s homeless mortality report.”

Between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021, 1,988 deaths of homeless people were recorded in LA County by the Department of Public Health. The previous one-year period showed 1,271 deaths.

Of those, 715 deaths in the pandemic year were due to drug overdoses. There had been 402 overdose deaths in the previous year. That amounts to a 78 percent increase.

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“Increases in overdoses are not surprising; we’ve seen it anecdotally,” Homeless Healthcare Los Angeles medical director Dr. Susan Partovi said, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The report said that deaths among homeless people had been going up long before the pandemic.

“This recent increase, while notably large, is consistent with a longer-term trend … since 2014,” the report said.

The report found that 179 homeless people died from COVID-19 in 2020, Fox reported.

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However, one local official said COVID-19 was still part of the problem in the rise in overdose deaths.

“The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on people experiencing homelessness has clearly extended beyond the immediate effects of this new and deadly virus,” said Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer. “The pandemic has exacerbated stressors already burdening this vulnerable population.”

However, one local official said COVID-19 was still part of the problem in the rise in overdose deaths.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on people experiencing homelessness has clearly extended beyond the immediate effects of this new and deadly virus,” said Los Angeles Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, according to Fox. “The pandemic has exacerbated stressors already burdening this vulnerable population.”

Ferrer added that simply by being homeless, people face increased health issues.

“But I still think the root of the problem of homelessness has, during the pandemic, led to an increase in mortality among people experiencing homelessness,” Ferrer said, according to the Times.

The LA numbers are not unique, according to KTLA.

A study in San Francisco found that between March 2020 and March 2021, 331 homeless people died, more than twice the previous year.

The leading cause of death there was also an overdose, according to the study conducted by the University of California San Francisco and San Francisco’s Department of Public Health.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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