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California vs. Britain: How do COVID cases compare to vaccines?

The overall pandemic trends in California appear to be improving, particularly due to declining hospitalizations in Southern California and the San Francisco Bay Area, although hospitals in the Central Valley and North rural areas remain under terrible pressure.

But as some health officials have warned, improvements are not guaranteed to last.

At the end of July, Britain celebrated what appeared to be a recovery from its own rise in the delta, an improvement that came about six weeks before California began to have its own drop in cases. But cases then rose again in the UK

“The uplifting tale here is from the UK, where they had a very similar pattern, with a surge that dropped throughout the summer… which we are seeing now. But then it started again, ”Dr. George Rutherford, epidemiologist and infectious disease expert at UC San Francisco, said recently in a campus forum.

“We have to be careful that that doesn’t happen here,” Rutherford said. “We risk that to happen. And it will take concerted efforts to prevent that from happening. “

Vaccines are still having a useful impact in Britain: the country reports around 36,000 cases per day, below the peak of around 67,000 new cases daily during the winter wave and the summer peak of around 48,000 cases per day end of July.

Yet the latest figures in Britain show an increase from the mid-summer low of around 22,000 cases per day around early August.

Daily deaths are increasing in the UK, but are still far lower than they were in the winter push. In its winter heyday, Britain was reporting around 1,700 deaths per day over a weekly period before dropping to near zero in late spring; the country now reports about 140 deaths per day over a weekly period, according to Johns Hopkins University.

California is already at a disadvantage compared to Great Britain. The Golden State, while boasting one of the highest vaccination rates in the United States, still lags behind Britain’s shooting record. Among Californians of all ages, 58% are fully vaccinated, while in Britain 65% are fully vaccinated.

The latest model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows how uncertain California’s future could be.

Currently, California reports an average of 100 deaths from COVID-19 per day, much worse than the tally of 20 to 30 deaths a day earlier in summer, but still much better than the nearly 550 deaths per day recorded at most. height of the pandemic during the winter wave.

In the most likely scenario, if vaccines continue to be distributed at the current rate, daily deaths are expected to remain stable, according to the institute’s model. If more people wear masks, daily deaths would decrease.

But if all those vaccinated stop wearing masks and the variants spread even faster than expected, daily deaths could reach 500 per day by mid-November, according to the institute’s model.

With the UK experience, we cannot be complacent, said Dr Ashish Jha, Dean of Brown University School of Medicine, in a Tweeter.

Weekly rates of coronavirus cases in California continue to improve.

Los Angeles County did not report the number of cases on Saturday or Sunday due to a planned upgrade to its treatment systems, but the trend heading into the weekend seemed consistent with the continued decline in case.

Between August 27 and Friday, new weekly coronavirus cases fell 36% in the San Francisco Bay Area, 28% in Southern California, 27% in the Greater Sacramento area, 18% in the San Joaquin Valley and 15% in rural northern California.

Nonetheless, levels of coronavirus transmission remain high, as do levels of hospitalization for COVID-19.

Some experts say it may be prudent to implement emergency COVID-19 measures, such as indoor mask warrants, when there are five or more COVID-19 hospitalizations per 100,000 residents. The Bay Area has a rate of 11; Southern California, 15; the Greater Sacramento area, 26; Rural Northern California, 31; and the San Joaquin Valley, 35, according to a Los Angeles Times analysis.

Hospitals in Central Valley and northern rural California remain under considerable strain.

In Del Norte County, on the northern California border, more than half of the patients hospitalized at the main Crescent City hospital have COVID-19.

In the San Joaquin Valley, a vast region of more than 4 million people stretching from Stockton to Bakersfield, available ICU capacity has been below 10% for 12 consecutive days, and officials in charge of the Fresno County warned they were so overwhelmed that they might have to ration health care – choose who gets bailouts.

Fresno County’s intensive care units have been particularly crowded in recent weeks, with between 80 and 93 patients – numbers not seen since January. And because hospitals are also caring for non-COVID patients, overcrowding has been so extreme that authorities have been forced to transfer critically ill patients to Sacramento and the Bay Area, about 170 miles away. .

Some experts have expressed hope that vaccination warrants, or injection or testing requirements, will increase vaccination rates. President Biden said last week that employees of companies with 100 or more workers will need to get vaccinated or undergo weekly tests.

In Los Angeles County, Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the pace of vaccinations needs to increase much more than it currently is. But she expressed hope that targeted vaccination orders would help, such as children 12 and older in Los Angeles public schools to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by January to enter campus.

“There is just an obligation for us to really try to stop the continuing pandemic and vaccinations are the most powerful tool we have,” Ferrer said.

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has ordered, with few exceptions, that healthcare workers must be fully immunized by September 30; California school workers have also been ordered to get vaccinated or tested every week.

Ongoing studies continue to demonstrate the power of vaccinations. A recent study published by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that, compared to those vaccinated, unvaccinated people in areas affected by the Delta wave were 4 1/2 times more likely to contract the coronavirus, 10 times more likely to be hospitalized. with COVID-19, and 11 times more likely to die.