“You’re paying for your success, which is weird,” Ali H. Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington, told the Mercury News when asked why Californians aren’t “reaping more reward for their adherence to health guidance.”
“You succeed in controlling the virus, and now you’re having infections.”
Cases in California are no longer falling, with the rate increasing to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s red “high” level of virus transmission stemming from the delta variant, the outlet reported.
But Southern states such as Texas and Florida – where state leaders do not enforce face mask policies or support other strict mandates – are in the CDC’s orange “substantial” transmission level.
California’s vaccination rate is higher than states such as Texas and Florida, but that still hasn’t stopped the outbreaks. Sixty-two percent of California’s total population is fully vaccinated, while Florida reports 60% and Texas 54%.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and other California leaders put some of the most strict coronavirus measures in place last year, which have continued into 2021.
In the Bay Area, health officials reimposed indoor face mask orders and won’t lift the measures until the area falls below the CDC’s orange “substantial” transmission level for three weeks or more. So far, most of the Bay Area counties still remain in the orange zone, besides San Francisco, which is in the yellow zone, the outlet reported.
California saw fewer cases of the delta variant over the summer with the state’s higher vaccination rate. Those who were not vaccinated and have recovered from the virus now also have immunity, the outlet reported, and the virus has a more difficult time spreading.
“These regions are now being partly protected by high prior infection rates,” said Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the medical department at the University of California-San Francisco. “But these people whose immunity comes from COVID-19 are not very well protected, and their immunity will wane with time.”
Watcher added that with low booster shot rates and waning immunity, “the end result is that we’ve plateaued in our improvements, both nationally and in California, and it’s likely we’ll soon see some significant upticks.”
“California has done very well over the past few months, but we still have too many unvaccinated people,” he added. “People are spending more time inside and being more active, and masking is going down.”
Florida, meanwhile, hit another new benchmark last week. The first hospital in the state to treat a COVID patient last year, Doctor’s Hospital, announced that for the first time since the pandemic, it has no virus patients in its care.
“This is great news! For two weeks and counting, Florida has had the lowest rate of new COVID-19 cases in the entire country – with no mandates, vaccine passports, or lockdowns. Overall, COVID hospitalizations have been declining for more than 70 days straight, and we’re at an all time low in terms of the number of COVID patients hospitalized statewide,” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, Christina Pushaw, told Fox News on Monday when asked for comment about Doctor’s Hospital in Sarasota.
“Gov. DeSantis is proud of Florida’s success with launching monoclonal antibody treatment sites throughout the state, which made a huge impact on lowering hospitalizations and saving lives. Early treatment – getting the monoclonal antibodies as soon as possible after testing positive or experiencing symptoms – cuts the risk of hospitalization by 70% or more,” Pushaw added.