Public health experts had hoped that first vaccinating the groups at highest risk of death or most likely to be exposed to the virus would result in fewer deaths among those infected. But if new virus variants lead to significantly more infections, “it’s going to result, eventually, in more deaths,” said Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine.
That California could somehow avoid a large COVID-19 surge without a China-style lockdown was naive, said UC Irvine public health professor Andrew Noymer. There is some randomness in when outbreaks hit — Illinois’ worst surge came in November while California’s hit in December — but there won’t be safety from the pandemic until herd immunity via a vaccine is achieved, he said. “This virus will find a way,” Noymer said. “No place in the United States is just going to somehow evade this.”
Bernadette Boden-Albala, dean of Public Health at UC Irvine, said county officials should be reevaluating and revamping the current vaccination registration efforts while OC waits for more vaccines from the state. “While we’re waiting for the vaccine, we need to make sure everything else is in place. That everybody has access to registration and appointment times. I’d’ rather be scheduled to have a vaccine for my aunt in three weeks, than waiting and waiting and waiting on the website,” she said. “There’s a lot of frustration with the app.”
“Hospital numbers are down, so that’s good,” said Andrew Noymer, a UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention. “ICU numbers are down from the peak, so that’s good, too… Also, testing positivity is going down, so I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re seeing a decline, but heavy emphasis on cautiously optimistic.” Noymer said he assumes the so-called U.K. variant of coronavirus, which is much more contagious and has been located in San Diego and Los Angeles, is also present in Orange County.
“[Lockdown and other restrictions] began in February, and now we’re all the way into [a new year]. People are really fatigued and tired… People just, I think people just got very, very tired, and there really wasn’t enforcement,” said Dr. Bernadette Boden-Albala, DPh, director and founding dean of the program in public health at the University of California, Irvine.
Experts also said they are worried about COVID-19 spreading to lawmakers or their staff, many of whom were barricaded in close proximity as the mob churned outside their office doors. … “Anyone who spent 15 or more minutes within 6 feet of Rep. LaTurner should consider themselves as a potential exposure, and should therefore quarantine for 10 days,” said Andrew Noymer, a professor of public health at University of California, Irvine. “In some ways, the whole US of A is one giant superspreader event at the moment.”
In a Tuesday phone interview, UC Irvine epidemiologist and public health professor, Andrew Noymer, said January is shaping up to be the worst month of the pandemic. “The fact of the matter is that January 2021 will go down in the annals of history as a crisis in the hospitals, you can take that one to the bank,” he said. “We’re in for a pounding, basically. I don’t know how else to put it. I’m not at all optimistic about the next six weeks.”