“We went from doing extremely well in flattening the curve to seeing a disturbing spike in cases,” notes Bernadette Boden-Albala, dean of the new public health school at the University of California, Irvine. “We had a false sense of security.” … “We never got that initial peak of cases, but that didn’t mean that we had gotten rid of coronavirus. Now, many are getting back to their normal lives, not wearing masks, gathering in groups and not being vigilant,” Boden-Albala said.
Bernadette Boden-Albala, dean of UC Irvine’s public health program and an expert in social epidemiology, said that early in the pandemic, Orange County residents did a good job of heeding public health warnings and slowing the virus’s spread from the outset. But lately, several factors, including shelter-in-place fatigue and a longing for summer sun, have made locals complacent, Boden-Albala said in an interview last week
Cases and hospitalizations have grown significantly in the last couple weeks, and “it’s not just around the hot zones — we’re seeing much more spread around the county,” said Bernadette Boden-Albala, dean of University of California, Irvine’s public health program.
The fact that protests took place outside, where viral particles can disperse more easily than indoors, and many protesters wore masks may factor into the low number of new cases, Andrew Noymer, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Irvine, told BuzzFeed News.
Dr. Andrew Noymer, associate professor of population health and disease prevention for the University of California, Irvine’s Program in Public Health, said “things are taking a turn unfortunately for the worse” in Southern California. “Orange County has been doing well historically in the last few months, but now it’s starting to look a lot worse and a lot more like the counties it borders: Los Angeles County, San Diego County,” Dr. Noymer said. “Cases are going up, hospitalizations are going up, ICU hospitalizations are going up, mortality is going up. So even net of the undercounting, statistics are getting worse, not better.”
Andrew Noymer, associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, tells Inverse that he could see parades happening if organizers take the right steps to ensure everyone’s safety. Not holding one, of course, would be safer, but there are ways to make them pretty safe. “I think parades can happen safely in times of Covid but not without some precautions,” Noymer says.
For UC Irvine Public Health Professor Andrew Noymer, passing the 10,000-case mark is only psychologically significant. “People seem to think round numbers are important,” he said. “Every case is a grim line.” There were 10,595 known COVID-19 cases in Orange County as of Monday — 269 people have died. The Orange County Health Care Agency estimates that 5,075 — about half of known cases — have recovered.