California could have a spring outbreak of COVID-19, experts worry

California could have a spring outbreak of COVID-19, experts worry

Is California Heading For A Spring Flare Of COVID-19?
At first glance, the data looks promising to avoid one. The average daily number of coronavirus cases in California has declined 16% over the past two weeks, falling to less than 3,000 cases per day. And COVID-19 hospitalizations in California are down 28% from two weeks ago.

But experts and public health officials are increasingly alarmed that the increase in the number of cases seen in parts of the United States and Europe could ultimately threaten California’s progress.

“Certainly in California there’s a very good chance we’ll have a brief honeymoon and then it will get worse again. I wouldn’t be surprised, ”said Dr. Stefano Bertozzi, professor of health policy and dean emeritus of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, at a UC forum in San Francisco last week.

A great potential nightmare would result from the wide dissemination of variants like the ones that hit Brazil. The Brazilian city of Manaus has been one of the hardest hit in the world with the conventional strain of the coronavirus, “and now it looks like there’s a lot of reinfection with the new Brazilian variant. So I’m worried about what will happen in the future, ”said Bertozzi. “There is a future in which this will last much longer than we hope,” as if the bad variant becomes prolific. Already, some of the monoclonal antibody treatments used to treat COVID-19 appear to be less effective against some of the newer variants.

Certainly California has a lot to offer compared to the nation as a whole, as well as states that are seeing an increase in coronavirus cases, like Michigan and Florida and the Northeast. Of more than 27,000 virus samples that have been genomically sequenced in California, only six belong to the Brazilian “variant of concern” known as P.1. Some suspect that P.1 will eventually be overtaken by the most contagious British variant to dominate California. And while California’s coronavirus positivity rate over the past seven days is 1.5%, it’s 8.3% in New Jersey, 8.8% in Florida, and 12.6% in Michigan.

But over the past year, California has not been able to wallow itself forever against the outbreaks of COVID-19 appearing elsewhere in the country. “Last year indicates that the number of cases on the East Coast often increases before the West Coast and that generally LA County is a few weeks behind New York,” the director of health said last week. Los Angeles County Public, Barbara Ferrer.

Not everyone thinks California is necessarily doomed to follow the path of other states. Factors that could help California include how low transmission of the disease has plunged in many parts of the state. This could help the state buy more time to get more vaccines before another outbreak can occur.

Here are several things to consider about how the nation and California might fare in the coming weeks.

It is clear that parts of California are seeing an increase in crowds as economic restrictions are relaxed and spring break arrives. The Easter Sunday vacation will be a big test of whether California can avoid another peak, experts say.

Dr Rochelle Walensky, director of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sounded the alarm on Monday over a sudden increase in weekly coronavirus cases.

The country is now seeing 60,000 new cases of coronavirus per day over the past week – an alarming 10% increase from the previous week, when there were around 54,000 new cases of coronavirus per day. Previously, daily coronavirus cases had stabilized between 40,000 and 50,000 new cases per day.

“When we see this increase in cases, what we’ve seen before is that things really do tend to rocket and rocket,” Walensky warned reporters on Monday.

Daily COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 4% from the previous week, and daily COVID-19 deaths are up almost 3%, resulting in around 1,000 deaths per day.

“We know that travel is on the rise, and I’m just worried we’re seeing the surges we’ve seen over the summer and winter,” Walensky said.

Michigan and northeastern New Jersey and other neighboring states are areas of concern, UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr.George Rutherford said at another campus forum the last week. Hospitalizations are increasing in both Michigan and New Jersey, he said.

And Michigan’s average daily number of new cases has risen significantly since February and is now more than half of its peak winter outbreak.

David Hardie, manager of the Water Grill on Ocean Avenue in Santa Monica, said the number of diners at his restaurant has grown steadily over the past two weeks. On Sunday, the restaurant grossed $ 19,000 in breakfast sales, he said. They would have had the chance to break $ 6,000 during the darker days of the fall and winter wave.

“Things are definitely coming back,” said Hardie as the waiters brought dishes to diners, including a handful. seated at tables inside. “And we are very excited.”

Joe Dubois, 27, was among the crowd watching skateboarders at the Venice Beach skate park on Monday.

Dubois, who lives in South Pasadena and works in software engineering, said he was encouraged to see positivity rates decline locally.

“Things are definitely slackening off,” he said, noting that he’s been more and more comfortable spending time with friends outside and even occasionally welcoming someone inside. interior. “My behavior hasn’t changed, but my mindset has changed. ”

Times editors Chris Megerian and Melissa Healy contributed to this report.


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