Friday, February 3, 2023

In California, seniors are hit hard by a surge in COVID-19

Coronavirus hospital admissions among California seniors have been troubling, with case numbers not seen since the Omicron surge of the summer.

Hospitalizations have tripled for all age groups in the state. But the increase in older people requiring hospital care has been particularly dramatic.

Los Angeles County officials have said a surge in the number of hospitalizations could possibly lead to ordering indoor masks as early as January. Still, there is optimism that no winter rally will be as severe as the last two years.

The rising hospitalization rate is one reason health officials are urging people, especially the elderly, to get the updated COVID-19 booster shot and, if they test positive and are eligible, receive therapeutic drugs. To use those that are likely to reduce the severity of the disease.

Only 35% of people over age 65 in California have received the updated booster since it became available in September.

About 21% of eligible people ages 50 to 64 have received the updated booster. The rate is 12% for young adults, 9% for teenagers, and 8% for children ages 5 to 11. The updated booster rate for all vaccinated Californians age 5 and older is 18%.

Dr. Eric Topol, director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, tweeted, “In California we are doing a pathetic job of protecting the elderly (and those over 50) from COVID.”

Immunity against COVID-19 weakens over time, so the boost is especially important for seniors, who are at higher risk of severe illness and death.

“The people who are dying are mainly people who haven’t been vaccinated or who haven’t received an up-to-date vaccine,” Javier Becerra, the US Secretary of Health and Human Services, said in an online forum with the Institute for California on Thursday. ” public policy.

COVID-19 deaths in the state have been holding steady between 100 and 200 per week. However, there are concerns that rising cases and hospitalizations could lead to more deaths.

US According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of all age groups, only people over the age of 70 saw their hospitalization rates in California exceed their summer Omicron peak.

The number of new coronavirus hospitalizations doubled in just 2½ weeks, to 8.86 per 100,000 Californians age 70 and older. The highest summer temperature in July was 8.36; The drop was 3.09 just before Halloween.

Through the seven days through Friday, 2,450 coronavirus-positive Californians age 70 and older were admitted to hospitals, a 44% increase from the previous week.

Meanwhile, the hospitalization rate for people aged 60 to 69 has more than doubled since November 11, from 1.28 per 100,000 people to 2.59. The summer peak for that age group was 3.03.

Alarmed by the rising cases and hospitalizations, state health officials have issued an alert to remind doctors that there are many drugs available.

“There is an ample supply of therapeutic agents for COVID-19, but they are underutilized – especially among populations disproportionately affected by COVID-19, including communities of color, low-income communities, and residents of hospitals long-term care,” said the California Department of Public Health.

The agency said the drugs could reduce the risk of hospitalization and death by up to 88% and up to 45% in vaccinated or already infected people.

“The drugs are free and widely available,” Orange County Health Officer Regina Chincio-Kwang, MD, said in a statement. “Drugs, such as Paxlovid tablet, can stop the virus from multiplying in the body, help test negative sooner, and reduce the risk of developing long-term symptoms of COVID. Plus, you don’t need insurance or US citizenship.

Other treatments are becoming effectively useless against COVID-19. On Wednesday, the US Food and Drug Administration said it is no longer licensing the monoclonal antibody bebetelovimab to treat the disease because it is not expected to work against Omicron’s BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants.

CDC data released Friday estimated that the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 subvariants account for 62.8% of coronavirus cases nationwide. The original strain, BA.5, now represents only 13.8% of cases.

The coronavirus landscape has suddenly worsened in some areas of California since Thanksgiving.

The worsening infection rate “suggests that more people are at increased risk of getting COVID-19 this winter,” Chinsio-Kwong said. He urged people to cover themselves in indoor public places.

As of November 17, all but one of California’s 58 counties—Imperial—were at a low community level of COVID-19 as defined by the CDC, which measures case and hospitalization rates. On Thanksgiving, three more counties – Fresno, Madera and Del Norte – joined Imperial in the middle category.

On Thursday, 23 counties entered the moderate category: Los Angeles, Orange, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Stanislaus, Sonoma, Monterey, Placer, Merced, Marin, Yolo, Butte, El Dorado, Kings, Nevada, Mendocino, Tehama, San Benito, Tuolumne, Siskiyou, Glenn, Mariposa and Sierra.

About 22 million people, 55% of Californians, live in counties that are now in the middle range.

Community Levels Of Covid In California

Los Angeles and Orange are among 27 California counties in the middle level of COVID-19 community coverage, indicating case and hospitalization rates.

(U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

In Los Angeles County, coronavirus cases have increased by nearly 50% in the past week, from 2,049 a day to 3,053. The county’s rate has been rising since late October and is more than three times the rate in decline. In the week ending Friday, Los Angeles County had 212 cases per 100,000 residents; A rate of 100 or more is considered high. The COVID-19 death rate in LA County is holding steady at about 60 deaths per week.

In addition to COVID-19, LA County is dealing with rising cases of the flu and high levels of respiratory syncytial virus, which is putting a strain on children’s hospitals. LA County’s flu positivity rate is 25%, the highest for this time of year in at least six years.

Two hospitalization thresholds need to be met for face coverings to be reintroduced in LA County. One of them has arrived.

There were 1,285 admissions of coronavirus-positive patients to county hospitals during the week ending Wednesday, more than triple the number in early November. That’s 12.8 per 100,000 residents, and a rate of 10 or more is one of the thresholds for a mask mandate.

The other threshold is reached if the percentage of hospital beds used by coronavirus-positive patients is 10% or more, indicating a strain on the hospital system. This level was reached during the winter waves of 2020 and 2021, the deadliest of the pandemic.

The current figure is up from 2% in early November to 5.9%. That could reach 10% by the end of December, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer estimated last week.

If this happens, there will be a countdown of two weeks before the mask order comes into effect, that is, in early January.

Separately, Orange County’s coronavirus hospitalization rate has doubled since mid-November to 432 per week, according to the CDC, or 13.6 per 100,000 residents. Orange County reports that 4.9% of hospital beds are being used by coronavirus-positive patients.

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Nation World News Desk
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