Tuesday, December 06, 2022

“Winter is coming,” Newsom warns as COVID threat persists

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Gov. Gavin Newsom turned to a familiar line on Tuesday to warn of the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic in California.

“Winter is coming,” he said during a speech at the California Economic Summit in Monterey. “COVID does not lift winter.”

Newsom is far from the first official to be wary of the approaching winter and express concern about what this might mean for the state.

California has yet to rid itself of the last remnants of the months-long Delta coronavirus wave, and there are warning signs that conditions are heading in the wrong direction in parts of the state.

“Last week, we literally planned our winter surge strategy – pre-placing assets in anticipation of what will happen in the next few weeks, making sure that we have staff not only in the state, but also that we have organized and potentially staffed that we’ll have to bring from another state, ”Newsom said.

He added: “I don’t want to tell you this because I don’t want it to be true. But the data backs it up. ”

After all, as Newsom noted earlier and reiterated on Tuesday, California found itself in a similar position this time last year only to see conditions deteriorate rapidly.

On November 8, 2020, California reported an average of about 6,200 new coronavirus cases per day in seven days. A month later, the state reported that the number had more than quadrupled to 26,000 new cases per day. And in early January, that number jumped to more than 45,000 new cases per day.

The daily recorded load did not drop below 10,000 until mid-February.

The current number of cases is about the same as last year. Over the seven-day period ending Sunday, California reported 5,700 new coronavirus cases per day, according to data compiled by The Times.

Across the state, both infections and hospitalizations due to COVID-19 have stabilized after months of decline.

But some areas with lower vaccination rates, including Riverside, San Bernardino and Fresno counties, have seen an increase in hospital admissions in recent weeks. Even in Orange County, where vaccination rates are relatively high, COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased since Halloween.

“With the number of cases on the rise in most areas of the state, we cannot let our guard down and underestimate this deadly virus,” said Dr. Thomas Aragon, director of the California Department of Public Health and a state health official. statement on Monday.

There are already some warning signs that colder temperatures elsewhere in the United States and around the world may be fueling a resurgence of the coronavirus.

“We know why, because [of] seasonality of COVID, ”Newsom said. “It’s not particularly hard to understand in a couple of years. You can see these trends in Europe. You can see that these trends are spreading to other parts of the world. Unfortunately, this is what is happening here. “

Officials and experts largely agree that California is unlikely to experience the same devastating surge as last winter, largely due to the fact that many residents are already vaccinated against COVID-19.

Roughly 69% of Californians have received at least one dose, and almost 63% are fully vaccinated.

However, millions of the state’s residents still have less protection from the coronavirus.

And given the evidence that immunity to vaccines can wane over time, officials emphasize that it is important for everyone who qualifies to be vaccinated, especially those at higher risk of serious COVID-19 symptoms, to get a booster shot.

“We have to support these accelerators. And we must remember that the work is not yet done; you can’t hit the ball, ”said Newsom, who was boosted by Moderna in late October for his initial vaccination by Johnson & Johnson.

State data show that unvaccinated Californians continue to be disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Unvaccinated people are about seven times more likely to contract COVID-19, nearly 10 times more likely to need hospitalization, and 18 times more likely to die than their vaccinated peers.

“Vigilance is our best defense against yet another challenging COVID-19 winter,” Aragon said. Get vaccinated if you haven’t already.

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