Santa Clara County health officials warned Thursday that the rise in coronavirus infections is alarming. This variant is believed to be more spreadable and more resistant to vaccines that may reverse recent progress in containing potentially deadly pathogens.
After the number of cases decreased in the past two months, with the opening of businesses, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody urged residents to avoid business trips, continue to wear masks, and avoid crowds and indoor activities with others. People have been vaccinated because they are worried that cases will swell again before enough.
Cody said: “In terms of our ability to contain this pandemic, we are back to an unstable place.”
County officials say that all four of the most relevant variants are circulating in the county. As of March 27, there were 92 confirmed cases of the British variant in the most populous counties in the Bay Area, up from 15 cases in mid-March. There were 3 confirmed cases of the South African variant in mid-March, and 2 cases in mid-March. One case is the Brazilian variant, and there are more than 1,000 confirmed cases, called the California or West Coast variant.
In addition, the county reported on Thursday the first two cases of its two New York variants, which are considered less threatening “variants of concern.”
The announcement came on the same day that California opened up to all adults 50 and older to be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, even though most areas, including Santa Clara County, continue to suffer from shortages, and many are already eligible. Of people cannot arrange vaccination. shooting.
Cody said: “We are competing between variants and vaccines,” and health officials are trying to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible to prevent this from happening again.
Several variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are worrying because they have been shown to spread more easily among people and are more resistant to current vaccines.
According to a study by the University of California, San Francisco, California’s more contagious West Coast variant has now become the state’s main variant and has been shown to block protective antibodies used in vaccines and therapeutics.
The Centers for Disease Control calls it a “variable of concern” along with other diseases first discovered in the UK, South Africa and Brazil.
Governor Gavin Newsom (Gavin Newsom), after receiving a Johnson & Johnson vaccination in Los Angeles on Thursday morning, said that “we need to be cautious” about the new variants and their potential to cause a surge in new cases. The infection rates in Michigan, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania are rising.
Newsom said on Thursday: “We are very cautious and we are very worried about these mutations.” He pointed out that although California was opened due to a declining case rate, his blueprint for reopening allows this to be reversed by requiring more business and activity restrictions. situation.
Newsom said: “If we see an increase in the number of people, then the blueprint can make us look back.”
As the virus multiplies in an infected person, mutations occur, and occasionally changes occur, which in some cases can make it more infectious or resistant to the body’s defenses.
Currently, there is no coronavirus variant that has the highest threat level of “high-consequence variants” against strains that show a significant reduction in vaccine efficacy.
According to UCSF’s research, it was found that the West Coast variant (actually a pair, called B.1.427 and B.1.429) is 20% more infectious than the original virus. Variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa are thought to spread as much as 50%.
The British variant called B.1.1.7 has been found in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and is expected to become the main variant in the country.
The South African strain B.1.351, which appears to be more contagious and more resistant to certain vaccines, first appeared in Santa Clara County in February and was associated with travel. The second case surfaced in mid-March, and the fourth case occurred in the state, believed to be caused by transmission within the community.
According to a clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine last month, this South African variant can escape the AstraZeneca vaccine that has not yet been authorized in the United States. Two other vaccines currently in use by Moderna and Johnson & Johnson provide some protection. However, the status of the South African variant in the United States is not high.
According to the latest statistics from the California Department of Public Health, there are currently a total of 8 variants of these 8 variants in the whole state, a total of 8800 cases, together are called the West Coast strain, 474 strains in the United Kingdom, six P.1 strains in Brazil, and four South African strain.