As the number of confirmed Omicron cases keeps going up in Los Angeles, officials there are once again urging people to get their vaccines and boosters in order to hopefully block the emergence of a winter wave.
This comes after the L.A. County confirmed a total of 60 new cases earlier this week, exceeding the previously 49 reported to the California Department of Public Health.
Barbara Ferrer, the County Public Health Director stated that:
“Given the rising cases, the high rate of community transmission, and all of the evidence that, over time, all our immune systems need a boost in order to be able to attack the COVID-19 virus, no one eligible should delay getting their booster dose.”
The newest variant is highly transmissible to the point that it seems able to outcompete the dominant Delta variant.
As a result, officials have been encouraging citizens to protect themselves in every way possible.
Ferrer stated that “Evidence is mounting that for those vaccinated some months ago, boosters are now necessary to provide a better defense from infection with and transmission of the new Omicron variant. Vaccinations also continue to provide some excellent protection from the Delta variant.”
Earlier this week, the L.A. County Department of Public Health also issued an official bulletin to all healthcare providers to push vaccines to all eligible citizens.
More precisely, it said that: “The Omicron variant’s a serious threat locally and globally given its increased infectivity, immune evasion and resistance to some treatments. Providers are therefore urged to contact their patients and to strongly encourage them to get fully vaccinated (if they are ages five and older) and get their booster doses when due (if they’re 16 and older) to protect them from getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and to mitigate community spread.”
Based on the newest data available, unvaccinated Californians are no less than 7 times more likely to get infected with COVID-19, 13 times more likely to need hospitalization and 16 times more likely to lose their lives as a result of complications caused by the virus.
The California Department of Public Health stated: “With the combination of cold weather keeping people indoors, the waning of vaccine and of natural immunity, and more mingling among non household members, public health officials urge all Californians to get vaccinated as well as boosted as soon as possible to help prevent a potential winter surge in COVID-19 cases.”
The Times’ vaccine tracker shows that about 74 percent of all California residents have been vaccinated with at least the first dose while in the L.A. County, the percentage has reached 75.4 percent.
According to experts in the field, the vaccination levels might play a really important role in how much some regions will be affected by the Omicron wave.
The San Francisco Bay Area boasts some of the highest vaccination rates in all the state and officials believe that it could really contribute to slowing down the spread of Omicron.
On the other hand, experts are rather worried about the places with lower vaccination rates such as Orange County, San Joaquin Valley. L.A. and the Inland Empire.
These regions’ vaccination rates fall somewhere in the middle and the new variant’s impact may happen accordingly as a result.
Infectious diseases expert at U.C. San Francisco, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, stated that it is possible for the Bay Area to experience a rather small increase in hospitalizations while the L.A. County would probably see a medium spike and the Central Valley would have the highest surge.