COVID-19 transmission statistics from late June to early July have found that California is experiencing a similar summer surge in cases similar to what they experienced in 2020 and 2021.
On July 4, 2022, the seven day average for new daily cases stood at 19,028 statewide. In 2021, that figure stood at 7,709 with 2020 coming in at 7,805. While the daily was higher, the 2022 figure has a much lower death rate, with 2022 having only a 39 a day average death rate compared to Independence day 2020 when it was at 65 statewide. The July rates are also much lower in general new case and death rates from the winters of 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
While more recent variants, such as Omicron BA.2.12, have been found to be more transmissible, the symptoms have proven to be milder with much fewer deaths. But despite the COVID-19 virus generally now following the path of the Spanish Flu 100 years ago and gradually becoming more endemic, multiple county health departments across the state are pushing for young children to get the vaccine as soon as possible due to many recent outbreaks at places with those 17 and under, as well as preparing for the return to school next month.
“With the recent rise in cases and the school year ending, LA County is now seeing outbreaks at camps, youth programs, and day care sites as many open for the summer,” said the LA County Department of Pubic Health in a press release on Tuesday. “During the month of June, there were four new outbreaks at day camps/non-K12 programs or day care sites for school-aged children and two new outbreaks at overnight camps.”
“Since vaccinations provide the best protection against severe illness and MIS-C, parents are urged to make sure that they and their children are up-to-date on their vaccinations and boosters, when eligible. Since eligibility expanded to children under the age of 5, 7,642 doses have been administered through June 30.”
“Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines are available to children 6 months to 17 years. The Moderna vaccine requires two doses, given four to eight weeks apart for children 6 months to 17 years. Boosters for the Moderna vaccine are not currently recommended. The Pfizer vaccine for children ages 6 months to 4 years requires three doses, with three to eight weeks in between the first and second dose, and at least eight weeks between the second and third doses. Boosters for the Pfizer vaccine are currently not recommended for children ages 6 months to 4 years.”
COVID-19 vaccinations in California
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer also noted the changing of variants, including possible new rises due to BA.4 and BA.5 likely to come to California soon, noting on Tuesday that “Earlier in the pandemic, it seemed like every few months we heard about a potential new variant of concern.
“But more recently, within weeks of one variant of concern dominating, there are reports from other parts of the country or other parts of the world of other either subtypes or different strains, and this has been especially true with Omicron. When folks ask why public health remains cautious, it is because every time there’s a new variant that is more infectious or potentially more infectious, that means it can spread more easily. You have to be super careful about those that are most vulnerable in our communities. And here in L.A. County, that’s millions of people. It’s not a tiny number.”
While there is urgency in increased vaccinations, with the statewide percentage now at 84% with at least one dose, new cases and deaths have been plateauing in recent weeks, signaling a possible downturn in the next couple of weeks. For many, the new calls for vaccinations have only been adding to the pandemic fatigue in the state.
“People just don’t want to hear about COVID-19 any more,” said LA healthcare worker Miguel Santos to the Globe on Tuesday. “It’s been going on two, two and a half years now and everyone is just so sick of it. Only if it is a requirement or people get really worried does it even come up anymore. That, and when people get tests, especially for international travel.”
“It’s really not optimal where we are, because, you know, we are doctors and nurses and others who don’t want harm coming to you or others. But everyone wants things to go back to normal now, and for many, that’s just ignoring everything COVID, or at most, wearing a mask in public or places where they have to. That’s it. Hand sanitizer, staying in, everything, that’s not a thing. We just had a string of box office records, stadiums are filling up again, and so many people are flying that it’s causing breakdowns in our system and shooting up the price of gas. We need to keep tabs on this, but everyone just wants it to be over.”
More COVID-19 announces are expected later this year, with new surges and variants likely to occur in California.