CDC Report Warns Of “Exponential” Covid-19 Progress Due To UK Variant – .
Friday afternoon when the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors met behind closed doors to discuss new, stricter shutdown instructions; when Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom appeared together to try to spur the region’s sluggish vaccination efforts; A major reason for the urgency of this effort became clear.
Earlier in the day, the Centers for Disease Control published their weekly report on morbidity and mortality. The report revealed new models for spreading B.1.1.7, also known as the UK variant of Covid-19, which is estimated to be 50% more transmissible than previous strains.
According to the CDC, “In this model, the prevalence of B.1.1.7 is initially low, but since it is more transferable than current variants, it will grow rapidly in early 2021 and will become the predominant variant in March.” The result of this predominance is that “B.1.1.7 causes a significant change in the transmission path and a new phase of exponential growth in a total of Covid-19 cases”. In light of this, the report warns: “Efforts to prepare the health system for further spikes in certain cases are warranted.”
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Dr. Paul Simon, chief science officer for the LA County’s Department of Public Health, said Friday that the CDC modeling “indicates that there is definitely cause for concern. That this strain has the potential to spread very quickly across the country and possibly – because it has so many mutations – affect the ability of the tests to identify it. ”
B.1.1.7 has already been identified in San Diego and San Bernardino, and LA director of public health Barbara Ferrer said this week residents should assume it is in Los Angeles too. “Current forecasts by the experts predict that this variant, if not activated, could dominate locally by March,” said Ferrer.
During the same press conference, Ferrer would not rule out additional health restrictions being imposed, especially given the still high number of Covid infections, hospitalizations and deaths.
The Ministry of Health confirmed 258 new deaths on Friday, marking the fourth day in a row with more than 250 deaths from the pandemic. That means there have been more than 1,000 deaths from Covid in LA County in the past four days. Hospital stays and intensive care beds occupied by virus-stricken patients remained near record levels. To date, the county has seen 989,928 positive cases of Covid and a total of 13,489 deaths. The county is expected to see the highest number of cases of 1 million this weekend.
Ferrer urged residents to continue to adhere to the existing health restrictions and suggested that more may be required.
“We should be ready to do more if cases stay high,” she said on Wednesday. “The work ahead requires that we take all necessary measures to reduce carry-over.”
Her words shaped the CDC guidelines issued on Friday. It states: “The increased transferability of variant B.1.1.7 justifies the consistent implementation of strategies in the area of public health in order to reduce the transfer and reduce the potential effects of B.1.1.7. See Garcetti and Newsom’s Friday appearance above. According to the CDC, “increased transmissibility also means that a higher than expected vaccination rate must be achieved to achieve the same level of disease control to protect the public compared to less transmissible variants.”
On Thursday night, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti addressed possible new store closures or other restrictions, saying, “This is something I know the county is considering.”
When asked about the companies that could be affected, Garcetti said, “I think it’s the obvious categories: whether schools stay open or not, gyms, public youth leagues.”
The Mayor said, regarding the potential danger of the UK variant of the virus, “We must always be open and I will always follow science and our public health advice [leaders] … And the county supervisors I know are making very difficult decisions and are incredible leaders right now trying to figure out whether or not there should be more closings. “
“But at the moment it is like that [the transmission rate] As we saw in December, it is increasing at every pace that we absolutely cannot sustain, and most importantly, our hospitals cannot and we would go into crisis mode there, ”he said.
Dr. However, Simon stressed that the health restrictions imposed by the county are only effective if people actually adhere to them.
“We’ve closed a lot here and the public is just exhausted, I think,” he said. “And we’ve seen the constraints being less respected … We can implement additional constraints, but if they aren’t, they won’t have the desired effects. We are not a police state. It would be very difficult to apply some of the extreme measures that have been taken in other countries. “
He pleaded with people to adhere to restrictions as much as possible and continue to do everything possible to minimize the risk of infection.
“Even if people can’t always do everything, try to minimize the risk,” he said. “It’s hard to be absolute – never leave your home … or never see anyone outside of your household. That is difficult news. “
Ultimately, he said, “We are just asking people to stay there. We are going a cheap way with the vaccine. “
The good news in the CDC report is that when modeling “after B.1.1.7 became the dominant variant, the transmission was significantly reduced”. However, that may be because everyone already has it.