The Corner

Politics & Policy

L.A. County Loosens Air-Quality Regulations for Crematoriums

The skyline in Los Angeles, Calif., December 27, 2020. (Bing Guan/Reuters)

One of our readers is involved with the international Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, and in recent days helped set up a 54-bed specialized respiratory-care unit in the parking lot of Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, California, in the northern part of Los Angeles County.

The number of deaths in Los Angeles County is so much higher than usual for so long, the county has loosened air-quality regulations that apply to crematoriums.

As the death toll continued to climb, South Coast Air Quality Management District issued an emergency order Sunday, temporarily suspending some of its restrictions placed on the county’s crematories to help them cope with the backlog in human remains caused by the deadly outbreak.

AQMD permits contain limits on the number of human remains that can be cremated each month, to help control air quality, the agency said in a media release. The county’s coroner and public health officials requested that the agency ease the limits.

The county’s morgue, as well as mortuaries and funeral homes, have grown weary, lagging behind the mounting death toll. Refrigerated trailers are now in use outside nearly every hospital in the county, to cope with the overflow as morticians labor to keep pace.

In certain circles online, it is an article of faith that the pandemic isn’t as bad as health officials and the mainstream media says, that fears of serious health consequences are overstated, and that few if any hospitals are in real danger of reaching capacity.

This virus was destined to be a brutal ordeal for the country, no matter what policy changes were put into place at the outset. But we have been hindered from the start by a surprisingly widespread sense of blind denial, perhaps never more perfectly articulated than in Eric Trump’s declaration in May, “Guess what, after November 3 coronavirus will magically all of a sudden go away and disappear and everybody will be able to reopen.”

The U.S. death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic on Worldometers on Election Day 2020 was 238,511 people; it is now past 407,000. The virus did not “magically all of a sudden go away and disappear.” The pandemic got worse. Eric Trump has access to all of the same information that the rest of us do, but two months into the pandemic, he could only conceive of it as a media conspiracy designed to ensure his father’s defeat in the presidential election.

Conspiracy theories aren’t just dangerous because of online cranks.


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