Delta Variant In Los Angeles: 20% Of Covid Cases Now Among Vaccinated Residents

Health

Deadline 22 July, 2021 - 04:31pm 37 views

“The Delta variant is a game-changer,” said Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said on Thursday.

Ferrer announced that, as the Delta variant has become more prevalent in Los Angeles County, the percentage of infections happening among fully-vaccinated residents is also rising. In March, vaccinated people accounted for only 2% of all infections. In April that rose to 5%. In May, it was 11%. Stood at 20% in June. The rise coincides with the rise of the more transmissible Delta variant in the county, which now accounts for 84% of all variants recently identified.

But, said Ferrer, there are still very important reasons for getting vaccinated. “If you’re vaccinated, the chance of you ending up in the hospital, winding up in the ICU, the chance of you winding up intubated are much less.”

One reason for the increase, she noted, “The more people who are vaccinated, the more people who will end up testing positive.” Currently, about 53% of L.A. County residents are vaccinated, so the proportion of vaccinated people to the overall population when compared to the proportion they make up of those who are newly infected reflects Ferrer’s logic.

The June 15 reopening may also have something to do with the spread among vaccinated people, she said. “When there’s more community transmission it effects…even those who have protection. If you’ve got more people around you who are infected, the more likely you are to get infected.”

“Those numbers will go up — including among vaccinated people,” she said, “until we get community transmission under control. Masking will help.”

Speaking of community transmission, Los Angeles continues to see steep increases with 2,767 new cases — up from 2,551 on Wednesday and 1,821 on Tuesday. The 7-day daily average case rate, which was 7.1 one week ago, has not virtually doubled to 12.9 per 100,000. That stat is considered one of the best indicators of the rise and fall of infections because it is both an average and not dependent on the number of tests administered.

One important nuance in that case rate rise, is that young people seem to be driving it. While 12.9 per 100,000 is certainly high overall, according to L.A. officials the case rate for Angelenos between the ages of 18-29 is an eye-popping 25 per 100,000. Certainly a predominant, more transmissible variant is a part of that. But the vaccination rate certainly plays into it. While 58% of residents in that age range are vaccinated, the number is 92% among those 65-79.

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Local Health Experts Concerned About Third COVID-19 Wave

WDEF News 12 22 July, 2021 - 06:10pm

L.A. County reports rapid rise in COVID-19 cases with 80% increase since last week

KTLA Los Angeles 22 July, 2021 - 03:10pm

In what appears to be an unfortunate step backward, Los Angeles County is experiencing another swift rise in coronavirus cases.

More than 2,700 new coronavirus infections and 13 more deaths were reported on Thursday, the highest number since the deadly winter surge in February, health officials reported.

“We are continuing to see a very rapid rise in transmission countywide, with cases doubling over the last 10 days. We are reporting 2,767 new cases,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at a news conference Thursday. “This is an 80% increase over the last week.”

The concerning numbers come one day after the county reported more 2,551 new infections and seven deaths on Wednesday, calling the number a 20-fold increase from June 21 when only 124 new cases were reported.

LA County’s COVID-19 cases have increased by 20x compared to last month when we had just 124 cases on June 21. Let’s help slow the spread. Get vaccinated & mask up indoors. Find a location near you at https://t.co/UVkFi7ugj8 pic.twitter.com/PVoHaaFhMT

Hospitals are currently treating 645 people with COVID-19, up vastly from the 213 people who were reported as being hospitalized on June 21.

Health officials said the rapid rise in cases is attributable in part to the fast-spreading delta variant and about 4 million L.A. County residents who remain unvaccinated.

And while the current COVID-19 spike is still lower than they were at any point during the devastating peaks the county endured in early December of 2020, Ferrer noted it is still “quite high.”

“We still believe it’s too early to say with 100% certainty whether the small uptick we are seeing in hospitalizations is the beginning of small wave of hospitalizations, or the start of a more devastating surge,” Ferrer said. “We are hopeful, however, that with so many of our highest risk residents fully vaccinated, we will not see the same rate of increase in hospitalizations that we saw last year.”

In hopes of getting the rate of new infections under control quickly, the county enacted a mask requirement over the weekend for everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status, and officials continue to stress the critical importance of getting inoculated.

“It’s adding an extra later of protection to prevent the heartache that comes from transmitting the virus to others,” Ferrer said.

More than 4.9 million residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, including 88% of residents 65 and over, 70% of people 16 and older 69% of those 12 and over.

According to county data, among those who are fully vaccinated, there have been 6,520 breakthrough cases reported between Jan. 18 and Tuesday. Of those, 287 people were hospitalized and 30 died.

In an effort to restore confidence in vaccinations despite the 0.13% of cases that occurred among the fully vaccinated, Ferrer compared getting a COVID-19 shot to a person’s routine use of seatbelts.

“It wouldn’t really make sense to not use a seatbelt just because it doesn’t prevent all injuries from car accidents,” she explained. “I like to think of COVID-19 vaccines in the same way. Rejecting a COVID-19 vaccine because they don’t offer 100% protection really ignores the powerful benefits that we have experienced for those people that have in fact gotten vaccinated. And for our community as a whole, as we have been able to reduce transmission with higher rates of vaccination.”

On Thursday, the county’s test positivity rate was 5.26%, an increase from 1.2% on June 15 when the county full reopened.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

A new federal strike force launched by the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday will focus on disrupting the illegal flow of weapons into Los Angeles from neighboring states while also going after makers of local “ghost guns,” according to local and federal authorities.

Both sources of weapons are a major driver of violence within L.A., and local officials hope their disruption will help stem the city’s increasing levels of shootings and homicides.

L.A.'s encampment cleanup program, CARE+, has been partly on pause since the pandemic took hold in 2020 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that clearing encampments could lead to people dispersing throughout the city and spreading the coronavirus.

Anthony Mahari Faaborg received a sentence of seven years and four months after pleading no contest to felony counts of lewd/lascivious act with a minor 14 or 15, oral copulation of a minor under 16 and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 16, prosecutors said in a news release.

NFL pressures players to get vaccinated; China balks at plans for virus origin study: Live COVID news

USA TODAY 22 July, 2021 - 02:01am

Public health officials and government leaders are pleading for the more people to get their COVID-19 vaccine as cases rise.

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A Texas hospital reported its first case of the lambda variant. But how infectious is it? And do vaccines protect against it? Here's what we know. USA TODAY

Missouri announced a lucrative new vaccination lottery program and West Virginia gave away $1 million, scholarships, guns and vacations in its lottery as authorities across the nation scramble to re-energize lagging vaccination efforts.

About 60% of the adult population and 50% of the entire U.S. population are vaccinated, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With new infection numbers now rising across the nation, public health officials and government leaders are pleading for the vaccine-hesitant to get the shots.

In West Virginia, a nurse won $1 million and two women won custom-outfitted trucks in the state's vaccination sweepstakes. Among the other prizes whose winners were revealed Wednesday were two full four-year scholarships, five lifetime hunting licenses, five lifetime fishing licenses, five custom hunting rifles, five custom hunting shotguns and 25 weekend getaways to West Virginia state parks.

In Missouri, the Baptist publication "Word & Way" published a statement backed by more than 200 Christian leaders urging vaccination. And residents now have the opportunity to win $10,000 prizes under a new lottery program announced by Gov. Mike Parson. The MO VIP Campaign will hold bi-weekly drawings from Aug. 13 until Oct. 8. In each of the five rounds, 180 winners will be drawn, with each receiving a $10,000 prize — either cash or, for those younger than 18, an education savings account.

"It's another tool we have on the table we can use," Parson said.

►Atlanta Public Schools, whose students return to classrooms Aug. 5, will require masks for all students and teachers in school and on buses.

►The European Union said Thursday it will donate more than 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to middle- and low-income countries before the end of the year.

►An infected Indonesian man boarded a domestic flight disguised as his wife, wearing a veil and carrying fake IDs and a negative PCR test result, authorities said. A flight attendant discovered the ruse when the man changed clothes in the lavatory.

►Tokyo hit another six-month high in new COVID-19 cases Thursday, one day before the Olympics begin. Four more residents of the Olympic Village have tested positive, including skateboarder Candy Jacobs of the Netherlands and table tennis player Pavel Sirucek of the Czech Republic.

►Children under 12 years old could start getting vaccinated for the coronavirus within a few weeks, President Joe Biden says. But it likely will be longer.

📈Today's numbers: The U.S. has had more than 34.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 609,900 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The global totals: More than 192.2 million cases and 4.1 million deaths. Nearly 161.9 million Americans — 48.8% of the population — have been fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.

The NFL is putting financial and competitive pressure on players to get vaccinated.

The league told clubs Thursday in a memo that they would risk forfeiting games that have to be postponed because of COVID outbreaks among unvaccinated players. The NFL also said players from both teams would not get paid for those games that are postponed and can't be rescheduled during the season.

As opposed to last year, when the league had contingency plans for an extra week of play for postponed games but did not need it, the NFL's memo says, "We do not anticipate adding a ‘19th week’ to accommodate games that cannot be rescheduled within the current 18 weeks of the regular season.”

Last year's flu season was nearly nonexistent, thanks in large part to the masking and social distancing required by the coronavirus pandemic. Now that restrictions have been lifted across the country, health experts are seeing a surprising rise in cold cases that are more typical of the fall and winter months.

Colds and COVID-19 have several symptoms in common — fever, runny nose, sore throat, a cough and general fatigue — which may lead some people to conclude they've contracted the coronavirus.

The only real way to know is to get tested, but regardless of the diagnosis, the strategy for both is the same.

“Stay home and take care of yourself and reduce the exposure,” said Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist and internist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

China on Thursday rejected the World Health Organization's plan for the second phase of a study into the origins of COVID-19, dismissing a theory that the virus might have leaked from a Chinese lab as a scientifically unsupported rumor. A previous joint investigation including WHO and China found it "extremely unlikely" the virus escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology lab. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus last week unveiled a plan to revisit labs and markets in Wuhan, the city where the first cases were identified. Tedros also called for greater transparency from Beijing. 

“It is impossible for us to accept such an origin-tracing plan,” Zeng Yixin, vice minister of the National Health Commission, said at a news conference.

The U.S. and some allies claim China has not been forthcoming about details of the early days of the pandemic. Former Vice President Mike Pence, who led President Donald Trump's virus response team, last week claimed evidence strongly suggests the coronavirus "leapt out of the Chinese lab."

China accuses critics of politicizing an issue that should be left to scientists.

Coronavirus cases hit a low point in the United States on June 22. In the month since, new weekly cases have more than tripled, a USA TODAY analysis of Johns Hopkins University data shows. The U.S. had been reporting about eight cases every minute. Now it's about 28. The nation has already reported about 164,000 more cases in July than in all of June. Cases have been rising in almost every state. Some of the changes echo the dark days from earlier in the pandemic. From June 22, the pace of new cases is up 762% in Alabama, 666% in South Carolina and 603% in Louisiana.

Recurring themes behind the increases: vaccine hesitancy and the delta variant.

Some hospitals have been besieged. The number of likely COVID-19 patients tripled in Nevada on July 17 from a month earlier, a USA TODAY analysis of U.S. government data shows. COVID patient counts almost doubled in Arkansas and Mississippi. Alaska went from 13 hospitalized COVID patients to 64.

The pace of deaths has traditionally fallen a few weeks behind case reports. COVID-19 was killing about 217 Americans a day at the low point a couple of weeks ago. Now it's killing about 245.

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The nation's largest hospital association is calling for all healthcare workers to get vaccinated as cases rise around the country. “To protect all patients, communities and personnel from the known and substantial risks of COVID-19, the American Hospital Association strongly urges the vaccination of all healthcare personnel,” the organization said in a policy statement. “The AHA also supports hospitals and health systems that adopt mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies for healthcare personnel, with local factors and circumstances shaping whether and how these policies are implemented.”

The AHA — which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals — is the largest healthcare group to endorse mandatory vaccine requirements for health workers. Health officials said the best protection remains vaccination, noting the shots reduce the risks of serious illness, hospitalization and death.

“The vaccines are very robust,” Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told USA TODAY. “What we’re seeing now in the United States, as the CDC director said, is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. That’s where the risk is.”

On Thursday, the head of the Henry Ford Health System in Michigan defended the organization's decision to require its employees to get vaccinated, saying it is "the right thing to do for the health and safety of our patients, our workforce and the communities we serve.''

American beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan and is unlikely to compete at the Tokyo Olympics, according to reports Wednesday. The Orange County Register and an NBC affiliate in Los Angeles each reported that Crabb, 29, recorded a positive test over the weekend, which would likely preclude him from competing in his first scheduled match with partner Jake Gibb on Sunday.

Crabb would be the first U.S. athlete to be ruled out of competing at the Olympics after testing positive for COVID-19 in Japan.

USA Volleyball confirmed in a statement that one of its members tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival but declined to provide any other additional details, including the identity of the person.

"In alignment with local rules and protocols, the athlete has been transferred to a hotel,'' the organization said. "Out of respect for the individual’s privacy, we cannot provide more information at this time."

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COVID-19 cases in U.S. triple over 2 weeks amid misinformation

Honolulu Star-Advertiser 21 July, 2021 - 03:30pm

Doctors injected sisters Claudia Scott-Mighty, left, Althea Scott-Bonaparte, who are patient care directors, and Christine Scott, an ICU nurse, with their second shot of the Pfizer vaccine, Jan. 8, at NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital, in Bronxville, N.Y.

MISSION, Kan. >> COVID-19 cases tripled in the U.S. over two weeks amid an onslaught of vaccine misinformation that is straining hospitals, exhausting doctors and pushing clergy into the fray.

“Our staff, they are frustrated,” said Chad Neilsen, director of infection prevention at UF Health Jacksonville, a Florida hospital that is canceling elective surgeries and procedures after the number of mostly unvaccinated COVID-19 inpatients at its two campuses jumped to 134, up from a low of 16 in mid-May.

“They are tired. They are thinking this is déjà vu all over again, and there is some anger because we know that this is a largely preventable situation, and people are not taking advantage of the vaccine.”

Across the U.S., the seven-day rolling average for daily new cases rose over the past two weeks to more than 37,000 on Tuesday, up from less than 13,700 on July 6, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Health officials blame the delta variant and slowing vaccination rates. Just 56.2% of Americans have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In Louisiana, health officials reported 5,388 new COVID-19 cases today — the third-highest daily count since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020. Hospitalizations for the disease rose to 844 statewide, up more than 600 since mid-June.

“It is like seeing the car wreck before it happens,” said Dr. James Williams, a clinical associate professor of emergency medicine at Texas Tech, who has recently started treating more COVID-19 patients. “None of us want to go through this again.”

He said the patients are younger — many in their 20s, 30s and 40s — and overwhelmingly unvaccinated.

“People were just begging for this,” he said of the vaccine. “And remarkably it was put together within a year, which is just astonishing. People don’t even appreciate that. Within a year, we got a vaccine. And now they are thinking, ‘Hmm, I don’t know if I will get it.’”

As lead pastor of one of Missouri’s largest churches, Jeremy Johnson has heard the reasons congregants don’t want the COVID-19 vaccine. He wants them to know it’s not only OK to get vaccinated, it’s what the Bible urges.

“I think there is a big influence of fear,” said Johnson, whose Springfield-based church also has a campus in Nixa and another about to open in Republic. “A fear of trusting something apart from scripture, a fear of trusting something apart from a political party they’re more comfortable following. A fear of trusting in science. We hear that: ‘I trust in God, not science.’ But the truth is science and God are not something you have to choose between.”

Now many churches in southwestern Missouri, like Johnson’s Assembly of God-affiliated North Point Church, are hosting vaccination clinics. Meanwhile, about 200 church leaders have signed onto a statement urging Christians to get vaccinated, and today announced a follow-up public service campaign.

Opposition to vaccination is especially strong among white evangelical Protestants, who make up more than one-third of Missouri’s residents, according to a 2019 report by the Pew Research Center.

“We found that the faith community is very influential, very trusted, and to me that is one of the answers as to how you get your vaccination rates up,” said Ken McClure, mayor of Springfield.

The two hospitals in his city are teeming with patients, reaching record and near-record pandemic highs. Steve Edwards, who is the CEO of CoxHealth in Springfield, tweeted that the hospital has brought in 175 traveling nurses and has 46 more scheduled to arrive by Monday.

“Grateful for the help,” wrote Edwards, who previously tweeted that anyone spreading misinformation about the vaccine should “shut up.”

In New York City, workers in city-run hospitals and health clinics will be required to get vaccinated or get tested weekly as officials battle a rise in COVID-19 cases, Mayor Bill de Blasio said today.

De Blasio’s order will not apply to teachers, police officers and other city employees, but it’s part of the city’s intense focus on vaccinations amid an increase in delta variant infections.

The number of vaccine doses being given out daily in the city has dropped to less than 18,000, down from a peak of more than 100,000 in early April. About 65% of all adults are fully vaccinated, but the inoculation rate is around 25% among Black adults under age 45. About 45% of the workforce in the city’s public hospital system is Black.

Meanwhile, caseloads have been rising in the city for weeks, and health officials say the variant makes up about 7 in 10 cases they sequence.

“We need our health care workers to be vaccinated, and it’s getting dangerous with the delta variant,” de Blasio told CNN.

Back in Louisiana, New Orleans officials weighed a possible revival of at least some of the mitigation efforts that had been eased as the disease was waning.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the city’s top health official, Dr. Jennifer Avegno, were expected to make an announcement later today. On Tuesday, Cantrell spokesman Beau Tidwell said “all options are on the table.”

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