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San Diego COVID surge continues as new variants gain ground

Confirmed COVID-19 cases remain high in San Diego County, with more than 7,000 reported cases in the most recent week available, and experts fear that new Omicron strains could increase the risk of infections, even among those with natural immunity or vaccine in the coming weeks.

BA.4 and BA.5 subtypes are rapidly gaining ground and, like other Omicron repeats, are increasingly contagious and equipped to avoid existing antibodies.

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COVID-19 cases are on the rise across the country, and vaccine rates have stopped. Experts say this could lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

Experts worry that these new strains could lead to more innovative cases, as immunity in those who have been fully vaccinated or strengthened is reduced and additional booster vaccines are not yet widely available.

“We’re seeing people who have been very careful for two and a half years to become infected with these strains of the virus, which I think reflects their really extreme transmissibility,” said Robert Schooley, head of the UC San Diego Department of Health. of infectious diseases.

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The number of confirmed daily COVID-19 cases in the county has remained fairly stable since May, when the spread of previous variants of Omicron, BA.2 and BA.2.12.1, caused the daily number of cases to rise competes with the Delta Wave last summer.

For the week of June 12, the county had three consecutive days where the number of reported cases exceeded 1,600, similar to the daily measurements at the height of the Delta wave.

While the majority of cases reported by the county up to this point were probably older Omicron strains, the potential spread in the future could be further increased as BA.4 and BA.5 prevail and more activity is observed due to lack of restrictions. , experts say.

“We are at a level right now where each case creates slightly more than one new case,” Schooley said. “Through a combination of increased activity intensity and less vaccination, less coverage, we allow the virus to burn quietly.”

The latest available effluent sampling data, which have been used to monitor the prevalence of the virus and its variants, show that BA.4 and BA.5 represent approximately 46% of the virus outbreak on June 15, while previous repetitions of Omicron, BA.2 and BA.12.1, make up about 51%.

This sampling also suggests that the current reported case numbers may be undercounted due to the increase in practice of home testing.

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While morbidity and mortality rates remain lower for those who have been vaccinated, some of the communities with the highest transmission rates in the last two weeks are in places with high rates of full vaccination.

Areas such as San Ysidro, Mission Valley, Chula Vista, La Jolla and Oceanside are among those with the highest transmission rates in the county, despite vaccination rates suggesting that the majority of residents have received at least two doses.

Other factors, such as occupation and social exposure, are important to consider when considering this overlap and possible future revolution, according to Susan Kiene, professor of global health at San Diego State University.

“There is not necessarily any correlation between vaccination and infection,” Kiene said. “It is certain that people are at risk in everyday life (doing things like that) just going to work, even though they are doing the right thing when it comes to vaccination.”

Experts say the most important factor influencing the current increase in cases is the decline in immunity in those who may have been fully vaccinated or boosted.

ONE report from the Centers for Disease Control, published earlier this year, found that the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine was higher after the third dose than after the second, but its potency decreased over time.

During the “Omicron dominant period”, the report states that the effectiveness of the vaccine against emergency department visits two months after the third dose was about 87%, dropping to 66% in the fourth month.

The potency of the amplifier in preventing these hospital visits is reported to drop to about 31% five months after receiving it, however, the CDC says that estimate may be inaccurate. For those who do not have a booster, the effectiveness decreases to about 37% after about five months after taking the second dose.

Both Kiene and Schooley emphasize the importance of taking a souvenir if you qualify for one and take personal precautions to avoid infection, such as wearing a mask indoors.

“It is inevitable that almost all of us will become infected,” Schooley said. “I think the message here is that this virus is much more capable of penetrating the population than the previous ones. If you let your immune system weaken, you can get very sick.”

“We are in a very different place than we probably were a year ago,” Kiene said. “COVID is much more manageable now, (but) it is not that there is no longer a risk. “We still have to be careful.”

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News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the journalist, or reported and verified by knowledgeable sources.

San Diego COVID surge continues as new variants gain ground Source link San Diego COVID surge continues as new variants gain ground

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