Protect yourself from illness and others from transmission
WEAR A MASK
In Orange County, coronavirus case counts and hospitalizations due to COVID- 19 have been climbing for at least a month, prompting public health officials to implore everyone to resume wearing masks in public settings, avoid crowds and get a vaccine if they haven’t already.
As of Aug. 6, the weekly average number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 OC residents was 15.3, and the percentage of tests coming back positive jumped to 7.9 percent, more than two points higher than the prior week, according to Orange County health officials.
As of Aug. 2, more than 164 million people in the United States had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but reports of breakthrough illness are occurring, and people who are 65 years and older are the most susceptible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the total number of vaccine breakthrough infections reported through Aug. 2 was 7,525, with people 65 and older accounting for 74 percent of that number.
Some of those infected may have mild or no symptoms and unknowingly pass the virus on to loved ones, officials report. And some fully vaccinated people are vulnerable to more serious illness.
Vaccine breakthrough cases were expected because no vaccine is 100 percent effective at preventing illness, according to the CDC. There will be a small percentage of fully vaccinated people who get sick and are hospitalized, or die, from COVID-19. LW’s population is particularly vulnerable to this virus and its variants, all the more reason to mask up and stay distant.
The delta variant is more contagious than other strains. It is dominating OC’s new cases and is the primary reason officials strongly recommend wearing masks outside and avoiding crowds.
In LW, mask use is not mandated but the GRF is strongly recommending compliance. LW clubs can set requirements for all members, vaccinated or not. Club officials are not allowed to require proof of vaccination, but they can require masking and social distancing during meetings.
The GRF is requiring staff to wear masks except when people are at their desks. And some offices remain closed to the public although business is being conducted. For example, the LW Weekly office is closed but people can place classified ads and submit news stories online or by slipping them through the staff door slot.
Some companies are requiring employees to show proof they’ve been vaccinated or get a COVID-19 test every week. Most GRF employees and about half the LW population have been fully vaccinated.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, recently warned that the United States could be in trouble unless more Americans get vaccinated, as a large pool of unvaccinated people give the virus more opportunity to spread and mutate into new variants.
Even so, a key issue is that current vaccines block severe disease but do not prevent infection, according to the Mayo Clinic. That’s because the virus is capable of replicating in the nose, even among vaccinated people, who can then transmit the disease through tiny, aerosolized droplets.
U.S. health officials have said that it will likely require a new generation of vaccines that also block transmission to fully defeat COVID-19. Until then, LW residents and everyone else will remain vulnerable to the rise of new coronavirus variants and should stay vigilant by masking up and avoiding crowds.