Even as the winter Omicron surge flattens, Los Angeles County health officials are urging the public to continue avoiding nonessential gatherings, saying coronavirus transmission remains at one of the highest levels ever seen in the two-year-old pandemic’s history.

With California averaging more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases a day recently, that’s still more than twice as high as the peak of last winter’s surge, in which 46,000 cases were recorded a day. The latest figure represents an extraordinary level of transmission that demonstrates how many more people are simultaneously infected and contagious than at any previous point of the pandemic.

So even as officials express hope that California’s winter surge is finally cresting, and in some areas, starting to decline, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said it’s still wise to postpone nonessential activities where people are unmasked and in close contact with others, like dinners and parties.

“We need to be extraordinarily cautious when there’s this much community transmission. We’ve actually never had this much community transmission at any other point during the pandemic,” Ferrer said. “It’s extraordinarily easy to be exposed. And for some people, when they are exposed, they can go ahead and become infected, and a small number of those people are in our hospital right now fighting for their lives.”

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