The Bay Area Has Become A COVID Hot Spot. Here’s What To Make Of That

The coronavirus has reliably disregarded all hopes that it would observe human holidays, deadlines or elections. Across California, evidence is once again accumulating that it responds only to caution and consistency.

Despite high vaccination rates and low case numbers, the Bay Area saw infections rise quickly enough in recent weeks to rank on a federal list of viral hot spots. Alameda County has seen new cases more than double to over 70 a day during the past month. Los Angeles County’s cases grew at a rate of more than 1,000 a day over the weekend.

Hospitalizations, while far lower than during the heights of the pandemic, are also rising. While the death rate remains at or near pandemic lows, Sonoma County recorded five deaths in one recent week, the most since February.

The rise of the delta variant of the virus could be speeding transmission among those who haven’t been fully vaccinated, which still describes nearly half of Californians and more than a quarter of Bay Area residents. Despite the newly dominant variant, most of the newly infected are getting the virus the old-fashioned way: by gathering indoors. Hence recent high-profile outbreaks at a Santa Rosa homeless shelter that had returned to pre-pandemic capacity as well as the state Capitol, where legislative officials responded by reinstating a mask mandate.

But the timing of the current resurgence can also be traced to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s June 15 grand reopening. Announced months ahead of time as a recall attempt approached inevitability, it was the latest in a series of dramatic revisions of his own pandemic rules, in this case dropping most of them altogether.

After Los Angeles County officials urged residents to resume wearing masks indoors, Newsom said such precautions won’t be necessary statewide if more people get vaccinated. He was right insofar as the vaccines have been shown to be highly effective against the delta variant, particularly in preventing serious illness and death. Vaccination is by far the most effective means of protecting ourselves and each other, which makes it not only a wise choice but a civic responsibility.

But with persistent gaps in vaccine uptake, and with children under 12 still ineligible for inoculation, the rising infections suggest precautions such as masks and capacity limits remain wise in many circumstances. The pandemic isn’t over yet; our leaders suggest otherwise at their peril and ours.


Source Link