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KPBS Midday Edition Segments

Historic Moment: Pride Comes To Escondido

 July 22, 2021 at 10:13 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 COVID-19 infections across San Diego are surging and county officials are bolstering their efforts to vaccinate more residents in an effort to slow the spread. The local spike in cases, mirrors a nationwide trend where health officials are now warning that the nation's COVID-19 situation is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. Joining me with more on these developments is Dr. William saying a hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego. Welcome to midday, Dr. Sang. Speaker 2: 00:27 Thank you very much. Rev me this week, Speaker 1: 00:29 San Diego county sign, 82% increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. Are you and your team at Kaiser starting to feel the impact of this space? Speaker 2: 00:37 Uh, yes we are. We're we're seeing both the ambulatory section on, so in the hospital as well. So we are seeing cases steadily increased. The Delta variant is really the one that everybody is talking about. It that's concerning. You know, the San Diego county has been tracking it all along. It started with 16 cases. A couple of weeks ago, then went to 25, then the 52, and now it's 103. And, uh, yesterday I think they came out with new numbers, but it's almost doubling every week. And we can see that as we mentioned, many Speaker 1: 01:07 Health officials are calling this, the pandemic of the unvaccinated are the patients that you're treating mostly in vaccinated. Speaker 2: 01:13 Yes. So I would say over 80 to 90% are un-vaccinated. And the reason is that, um, the people who are vaccinated, some of them, even if they get infected, because you have that immunity, you attack the virus. So your viral load in your body is much, much lower to a point where you're barely symptomatic. So maybe a little sore throat, a runny nose, and that's about it. And we actually pick them up on happenstance just because they are here to check out or they're there to get surgery or something. And then they do a routine testing. They pick them up that way. There are people who come into the ambulatory symptomatic look, I've got a sore throat cold. I just want to get it checked out. And then they test positive. And then they're the ones that come into the hospital and test positive there. Now those predominantly are the unvaccinated or incompletely vaccine, meaning they had one dose and then follow up with the second dose. So either unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated, people are the ones that are coming into the hospital, ending up, being admitted. The second Speaker 1: 02:21 Dose is also important that you are seeing that it's not just the unvaccinated, but those who are not completely affected. Speaker 2: 02:27 Yes, definitely. Yes. In Speaker 1: 02:29 San Diego county, 69% of the eligible population has been fully vaccinated, which is just shy of that 75% goal. Mark, how much of the population needs to be fully vaccinated to really see a stop in this uptick in cases? Speaker 2: 02:43 That's a great question. Um, because you know, when we talk about the percentage needed to be vaccinated before you reach that hurted muted, it also depends on the virus itself. So for things like measles, you need a 90, 92% vaccination rate to get that protection because it is more infectious, meaning it's more easily transmitted for the ones that are less likely to transmit. Obviously you can have a lower level. Now that number has been debated. Dr. Fowchee had one said that it needs 90%, a lot of people for the flu, uh, 70 to 80% right now in San Diego county, we've administered over 4.1 million doses of vaccine. So we're doing much better than the state and we'll do definitely much better than the country, but again, it's really that unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated population that we're looking at. So reach herd immunity. I would say it's probably somewhere between 80 and 90% is where we need to be to protect the people who are unvaccinated. So having the people who vaccinated protect the people who are unvaccinated, we would need to reach about 80 to 90%. Speaker 1: 03:53 So the Delta variant were increasing exponentially in previous weeks, but the latest county update actually seems to show that that Delta variant is slowing how prominent are Delta variant infections in the CA in the caseload that you and your team are working Speaker 2: 04:07 On the Delta Varian for last Wednesday. So, um, was 122 cases. So it shot up very quickly and then it slowed down and, you know, part of the reason could be what I turned to with the vaccine firewall, right? We get as many people vaccine as possible. So even the vaccinate, it protects the unvaccinated. And if we can have a strong enough force, and I believe this is the case because San Diego we've been very aggressive as a county, uh, with the help of the health and human services of the county and all the health system working together, we've been able to, to hold it at bay better than I think. Um, other counties have been in your opinion, Speaker 1: 04:48 Do you think the county should reinstate it's masked mandate, Speaker 2: 04:51 The mass protects the, um, others more than, uh, protects yourself. It does protect yourself if you wear the mask, but it's really, if you are carrying the virus and you wear a mask, you really limit the spread. So it is a community benefits, meaning I protect you and you protect me. Um, the mass mandate will definitely slow, uh, the virus spread around. So yes, I think it is a good idea, outdoors, a different situation, but indoors definitely finally, Speaker 1: 05:25 For people listening right now, what do you recommend they do to stay safe and healthy as we continue to see these numbers rise, Speaker 2: 05:32 I think get vaccinated. If you're even thinking about it, get vaccinated is the best way to protect you from catching COVID, spreading COVID or dying from COVID. There's great evidence that, um, uh, the vaccine itself prevents you from getting it, but also prevents you from dying from it. Um, I think before the Delta variant was, um, it started taking off. We knew that, um, the cases of getting infected a breakthrough infection was like one in 10,000 and the death goes from one in 545 to one in half a million or more. So it is a great way to, to, to protect you, your family and our community let's help each other, protect each other, get vaccinated. Um, and that will stop the Delta virus variant. I know people keep talking about Delta, Delta, Delta, but really the answer is vaccine vaccine vaccine. So let's get out there and take care of each other. I've Speaker 1: 06:33 Been speaking with Dr. William sang a hospitalist at Kaiser Permanente, San Diego. Thank you. Thank you.

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Pride festivities continue this weekend. This time in North County where the celebration is a first for the city of Escondido.
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