Every day it seems like we are bombarded by good and bad news regarding Covid. This week is no different. All over the country, places are reaching grim milestones of deaths. But, there is also a fair amount of good news trickling out to give Los Angeles residents hope for the future.
So far, 50,000 Californians have lost their lives due to Covid. Of those 50,000, 20,000 are from Los Angeles County. The 20,000 dead in L.A. is particularly hard to swallow. Los Angeles had some of the strictest Covid restrictions in the nation, and it didn’t help.
New strain development is the biggest worry health experts have right now. They are worried because new strains might be deadlier or spread easier. They also might be resistant to current vaccines.
It turns out Los Angeles might already be home to such a strain.
Dr. Charles Chiu is a physician and infectious disease researcher at UCSF. According to him, a problematic strain has already settled in, and it will probably account for 90% of infections in California by the end of next month.
As bad as that sounds, it doesn’t fundamentally change anything.
According to Dr. Fauci, the best way to fight a new strain is by doing the same things that are recommended now.
“The best way to prevent this is to stop the spread of either variant by getting vaccinated, wearing masks, and limiting exposure to others.”
Los Angeles is well known for being a creative city. Its so-called “Creative Economy” is part of what makes L.A. different from the rest of the country. Unfortunately, creative jobs have been hit hard by this pandemic.
Otis College of Art and Design and Beacon Economics releases an annual report. That report showed that 175,360 workers in California lost their jobs between February and December in creative fields. Those included film, media, fashion, architecture, and fine arts.
The Paycheck Protection Program was not a whole lot of help either. Creative jobs make up 8% of the state's jobs yet only received 1.6% of the PPP loans. The loss of “non-essential” jobs doesn’t seem like a big deal to some people. However, those creative jobs are one of the things that make Los Angeles unique.
It’s not all bad news, though. There have been positive things happening lately.
Vaccine Stops The Spread
Does getting vaccinated stop you from spreading Covid? That question was not answered in the original Moderna and Pfizer trials. Those trials focused specifically on the vaccine's effect on illness and death.
This question is actually quite important. If the vaccine does not stop you from being contagious, it takes away a huge part of healthy young people's incentive to get vaccinated.
Thankfully we are getting closer to an answer.
There have been several studies that show promise. It looks like vaccinated people have lower viral loads. A person’s viral load has been linked to how contagious they are.
“There have been some studies that are pointing into a very favorable direction.” Dr. Anthony Fauci
A study in Isreal showed that people who received the Pfizer vaccine had a four times lower viral load than unvaccinated people.
This is not definitive proof that getting vaccinated will stop you from spreading covid completely. However, it appears that the vaccination will make that much less likely. That is a big step towards getting back to normal life.
It also points to the infection numbers dropping quickly once more people are vaccinated.
These are tough times, and the number of deaths reminds us of that constantly. Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The more people get vaccinated, the closer we get to returning to something resembling normal.