After months of significant decline, new weekly cases of coronavirus in California and hospitalizations have subsided as the critical holiday season approaches.
The country’s coronavirus transmission rate has long been among the lowest in the country, and officials hope vaccine requirements and other safety rules will prevent a new rise in cases and deaths this winter.
But the arrival of Halloween will trigger a packed full of fall-winter celebrations that will entice many residents to travel and gather in numbers unprecedented before the pandemic.
Combining this with colder weather, which increasingly encourages indoor activities – where the risk of transmission is generally higher – and the apparent seasonality of COVID-19 itself, there is a chance that this final lull will be the starting point for a new influx of infections.
Although California continues to outperform most states, it is still considered to have “significant” transmission – the second worst category in U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. four-point scale.
When the state celebrated its complete economic reopening in mid-June, California reported less than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus per day. Now the state sees an average of between 5,000 and 6,000.
And about 100 Californians still die every day for COVID-19. Prior to the rise of the Delta version, California reported 25 deaths a day.
Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, a deputy health official in Orange County, has been warning for weeks that a pandemic could rise as the weather cools if the vaccination rate does not improve drastically. In mid-October, she recalled the experience of the United Kingdom, which sometimes predicted the direction in which the United States was heading.
“When the winter months come and when all these holidays come, more people will gather and more people will be indoors,” Chinsio-Kwong said. “So if we do not take precautions until everyone gets some kind of immunity, we are still in danger of continuing to have higher case numbers, similar to the UK.”
California is not necessarily destined to follow the British path. It is possible that a combination of relatively high levels of immunization in the country, together for higher level of natural immunity, could put it better this fall and winter than other cities.
But the state has so far stopped recording a week-on-week decline in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations for COVID-19. And the rate at which coronavirus test results are positive has increased.
“All over California, our country is open and we are aware that people are getting tired of wearing masks and that immunity is also weakened. And there are many more in our community who have not yet been vaccinated, ”Chinsio-Kwong said on Friday. “So yes, when people go indoors, we expect cases to either stay at the same rate or actually increase.”
On Thursday, California reported 3,816 people with COVID-19 infections in hospitals across the country, which is 4% more than a week earlier.
The latest hospitalization numbers are nowhere near the peak of the summer rise, which peaked at 8,353 patients on 31 August. However, it is still four times higher than the pre-Delta level.
“We have certainly seen a reduction in the increase we have had, but the cases are declining and we do not see a further decline. Things have been quite stable in the last few weeks, “said dr. Marty Fenstersheib, a vaccine officer in Santa Clara County, the most populous county in Northern California. “We hope this is not the beginning of an increase.”
The rate of positive tests across the country in the last seven days is now 2.8%, up from 2.1% a week ago.
And after steadily declining for weeks, the number of new daily coronavirus cases slowed. In the seven-day period that ended Thursday, there were an average of 6,068 new cases each day in California. That’s 10% more than last week.
The arrival of last year’s holiday season was a disaster for California, triggering a horrific wave of coronavirus that rocked the country.
“I want to be sober about the moment we are in because it reminds me in many ways of where we were last year,” Governor Gavin told reporters on Wednesday.
But he also acknowledged “the progress we’ve made because we should, and I’d like to thank the 40 million Californians for their resilience.”
This year is very different from last year – including the introduction of vaccines – and health experts and officials in general believe that California is unlikely to experience the same upheavals.
But the path of COVID-19 is well known.
Collections, especially in overcrowded enclosed spaces, offer many transfer opportunities. Health officials also “now believe there is some seasonal impact of COVID that could facilitate its spread in the colder months,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters on Thursday.
From Thursday, Orange County reported an average of 279 new cases of coronavirus per day in the last week, up 18% from a week ago. Los Angeles County the seven-day average of 1,224 new coronavirus cases per day is 23 percent more than a week ago.
More than 60% of residents of all ages in LA and Orange counties are fully vaccinated. collected data by The Times.
But even in the San Francisco Bay Area, home to the country’s highest vaccination rates, some officials have reported that cases are no longer declining.
More than 70% of the total population in Santa Clara County they are thought to be fully vaccinated, but officials there are also noticing that progress is stalling, as new average cases generally hover around 150 a day throughout October. In June, Santa Clara County reported about 30 cases a day in total.
In Fresno County, recent improvements in hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have begun to evaporate. After peaking at 410 before Labor Day, the number of hospitalized patients in the most populous district of the San Joaquin Valley had dropped to 240 by mid-October, rising to more than 300 in recent days.
The Fresno County hospitalization rate per capita due to COVID-19 is five times worse than in LA County and one of the worst in California.
“These are actually somewhat bleak prospects,” Dr. Rais Vohra, temporary health officer of Fresno County. “Hospitals can actually experience the same level of stress and strain as they have had with this last fall or last winter rise.”
Too few people received the vaccine – just over 50% of the population is fully vaccinated – and too few people received resuscitation, Vohra said. “And we’re already starting with an extremely affected healthcare system.”
Most of California remains in the two worst categories on the coronavirus transmission scale – either “significant” or “high,” as defined by the CDC. The counties of Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura have had a “significant” transfer since Friday, while the counties of San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino have been rated “high,” the worst category.
Several counties were placed in inferior categories on Friday: Alameda, San Mateo and Monterey moved from “moderate” to “significant” and San Luis Obispo from “significant” to “high”.
While health systems are no longer stretched to extremes, officials say they could be shaken by another, more familiar enemy in the coming months: the flu.
People was spared typical flu season last year – development experts are largely responsible for measures to combat the coronavirus, such as wearing face hats, practicing social distancing and avoiding overcrowded environments.
This year, however, this is not the case. Businesses that were closed or severely restricted last year are now operating at full capacity. Sports events and concerts continued. Many residents are expected to travel to family and friends.
The prospect of flu season coming with the constant high transmission of coronavirus is so worrying that it was even born under the name: “double demia”.
“We know that other respiratory viruses that start circulating are the flu and others that affect both young people and adults,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, California Secretary of Health and Human Services. “We are concerned that this will continue to pose a challenge to our hospital system and that certain efforts to truly protect California will need to be redoubled so that we can survive the next few weeks and months.”
Many believe California is better equipped to survive the COVID-19 storm this year, especially thanks to the wide availability and use of vaccines, which officials and experts say continue to offer strong protection against infections and serious illness.
According to the provide dataUnvaccinated Californians are seven times more likely to be infected, 10 times more likely to end up in hospital, and 15 times more likely to die than their vaccinated counterparts.
Nearly 69% of all California residents have received at least one dose, and about 62% are fully vaccinated. The vaccination campaign could soon gain additional momentum once the country and federal health officials extend access to the vaccine to children aged 5 to 11 years. This will give an additional 9% of the California population eligible for vaccines.
Nevertheless, this coverage is much lower than the level deemed necessary to provide lasting protection against future outbreaks.
Even if only 32% of California’s population is currently unvaccinated, that’s still more than 12 million people. This is more than the population of all but six countries.
And last year’s fall-winter rise proves how quickly the virus can get out of control.
On October 21, 2020, the state reported about 3,000 new cases, according to Times data. A month later, there were 12,100 of them. And a month after that, the daily reported total increased to 58,400.
Transmission to the community did not return to pre-wave levels until March.
“Over the next few weeks, we enter so confident in the vaccine situation and their ultimate protection so many, but careful and vigilant with our guard to ensure that our hospital system is ready, that the messages and actions of our public health system are in place, so we can ensure that California will endure a very difficult period last year, ”Ghaly said.