As June ends, we have the harvest of many too enthusiastic openings of beaches, bars and restaurants in the Sunbelt states as well as the large protest gatherings across the country. Los Angeles County, which was rejoicing only two weeks ago as the daily new infections dipped close to 1000 a day, has jumped to three days last week being over 2000 new infections per day.

Nationwide, the 7 day average of new COVID-19 cases is slightly over 36,000 per day, off a recent daily peak of almost 45,000 cases one day last week.

Local resident Kal Klatte’s beautiful chart showing a declining 7 day moving average number of daily deaths for the nation has been spoiled. It was headed towards fifty deaths a day but has taken a short climb undoing the last three weeks of progress. He has cautioned that most deaths are usually about 3 or 4 weeks after hospitalization. We will continue to monitor this.

How is this different and why? Nationwide the number of tests is increasing and the percentage of tests that result in a COVID-19 is much higher than it was just a few weeks ago. Younger people in the 20 to 45 year old range now make up close to half of the new cases. It is hoped that their infections will not be as severe, and they are less likely to result in hospitalization. The numbers of new infections among the seniors in assisted living facilities keep falling as a routine of testing and masking bears fruit.

Doctors are getting better at treating the disease and a smaller percentage of cases have been resulting in death.

I had a conversation with a gentleman with a doctorate in math. He spent a good part of his working years at Rand. He asked would I be willing to take a daily pill if it reduced my chances of being infected with COVID-19 by 80%. When I replied in the affirmative he said, “The pill doesn’t exist yet, but you can get the same benefit by wearing a mask any time you are away from home.”

Please wear a mask and encourage those you interact with to do the same.

Malibu local Harriet Pollon called me to talk about the fact that Malibu is becoming a banking desert as branches are consolidating or closing in the region. Many of our residents have to drive to Westlake, Santa Monica or the Valley to find a branch of their bank. Malibu now has only two banks, Wells Fargo at Trancas and First Bank on Cross Creek. Some of the closed banks still have functional cash machines. I spoke with Nagy Henlein of First Bank and he agreed that the loss of all the retail activity due to the closures, the exodus of around 4,000 Pepperdine students and the fear of COVID has made life quite a bit more difficult for banks in general. First Bank has not been closed a day and has been very aggressive about adapting to COVID. Wells Fargo has also adapted. I would welcome comments from any financial institutions or their customers. Access to banking is part of being a resilient community.