Pandemic milestone: 700k COVID-19 total cases reported in San Diego
San Diego County passed another pandemic milestone, reaching more than 700,000 cases since the pandemic was declared. The milestone happened at the same time that cases of omicron have been declining.
"Which is good," said Dr. Eric Topol with the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla. "Whether it will go way down isn’t entirely clear, but at least it’s reducing the toll on our medical resources and not spreading like it was. So these are really good signs."
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The first reported coronavirus case came back in February of 2020 when Americans were being evacuated from Wuhan, China. The first San Diego County resident tested positive in early March of 2020.
Topol said two years later the focus is still containing the virus, something he said is more likely if around 90% of Americans were vaccinated.
"We’re still far from that," Topol said. "So we’re highly vulnerable here in San Diego, California and the entire United States."
San Diego's vaccination tracker shows just over 80% of county residents are fully vaccinated while 91% have first doses.
Topol also said controlling the pandemic is not just about containing the virus within our borders.
"Unless we get the whole world high level vaccinated, or the protection from prior COVID that can be seen, we’re not going to have containment," he said. "And containment is the story we’re after."
Pfizer has now requested FDA authorization to vaccinate children under 5 years of age. Topol said trials have shown side effects similar to adults
"Soreness in the arm, occasional fever and chills," Topol said. "These are minor side effects. The vaccines were tolerated incredibly well throughout children of all ages."
During the pandemic case numbers have typically risen around holiday gatherings. Soon San Diegans will be getting together to watch the Super Bowl.
Topol recommends taking a rapid test before heading to parties and he pointed to easy ways to be a little bit safer.
"To be outside — or to have really good ventilation with windows everything open — that’s how you can do a gathering," Topol said. "Obviously with everyone having had vaccination and a third shot, anything short of that there’s a risk."
COVID-19 related hospitalizations have also been decreasing, but as of Wednesday there were still 1,129 patients in county hospitals with 217 in the intensive care unit.