Photo by Matthew Hume on Unsplash
The 4th wave of Covid is coming to America. That is if it isn't already here.
What does that mean for Los Angeles? Hopefully, nothing, but we will just have to wait and see.
Why are we talking about a 4th wave?
According to Dr. Rutherford, a UC San Francisco epidemiologist:
“The United States has entered a fourth wave of transmission, and there’s no disputing this. Whether it remains as small regional outbreaks, or whether it generalizes nationwide remains to be seen.”-Dr. Rutherford
A recent rise in Covid infections is the cause for all this concern. According to federal officials, there was an 8% week-over-week increase in daily cases. The average number of new hospitalizations also rose by 5%.
While that is bad news for America as a whole, things in Los Angeles might not be quite as bad.
Why Los Angeles is in better shape than most
There are several encouraging reasons why Los Angeles is in better shape than most of the country.
The numbers in California as a whole have been improving, not getting worse. Currently, the state is reporting between 2,500 and 2,700 new cases per day. Compare that to the 45,000 new cases daily during the previous surge.
California also has a much lower positivity rate than other parts of the country, which are struggling. The positivity rate in California is between 1%-2%. Last week Michigan had a positivity rate of 16%, and New Jersey had a rate of 9%.
Dr. Rutherford agrees that California’s numbers are good news.
“Here in California, we’re in much better shape — we do not have a spike. But I would point out that we’ve leveled off, and we’re not seeing continued declines.”-Dr. Rutherford
Immunity plays a big part in how much virus can spread. Immunity is typically acquired through vaccination or previous infections. California is high in both.
Some experts, such as Dr. Scott Gottlieb, think immunity will help protect against a potential 4th wave.
“I think that there’s enough immunity in the population that you’re not going to see a true fourth wave of infection. Pockets of infection around the country, particularly in younger people who haven’t been vaccinated and also in school-age children.”-Dr. Scott Gottlieb
If that is true for the country as a whole, it’s especially true for California.
In California, more than 32% of residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Also, around 17% of California residents are fully vaccinated.
Those numbers are even more promising in Los Angeles.
Dr. Ferrer estimates that between 30–40% of L.A. residents have already been infected. Dr. Fauci estimates that number to be closer to 45%. When you add those numbers to the people who are already vaccinated, it looks promising.
More vaccines coming
The biggest weapon we have against Covid, both long and short term, is vaccination. Thankfully, vaccination supply is expected to increase soon, according to Dr. Barbara Ferrer.
After months of not having a clear picture of the supply of vaccine doses, Los Angeles now has a solid estimate. That estimate makes it possible to measure when we should expect to hit herd immunity. Dr. Fauci estimates that between 70–85% of immunity is needed for herd immunity.
“If L.A. County receives 500,000 doses a week, 80% vaccination of 16 and over can happen in just 12 more weeks.” -Dr. Ferrer
This idea of a 4th wave is scary news. However, here in Los Angeles, we seem to be better equipped to fight it than in many places.
While now is not the time to get careless, it is also not time to panic.
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