Congratulations to alumnae Rachel Hinanay, Courtney Pon, and Roselyn Tanghal for winning 2nd place in the APHA Environmental Section’s Student Achievement Poster Awards for their project ‘The Influence of Green Space on Cardiovascular Health: A Systematic Review’. Dr. Miryha Runnerstrom and George Washington University MPH student Yves-Smith Benjamin also served as co-authors.
Orange County Wednesday reported an additional 71 COVID-19 fatalities, including 15 that occurred in December. The newly reported deaths raise the county’s death toll to 2,839. According to a UC Irvine public health expert’s projections, that number could reach 4,000 in three weeks. Andrew Noymer, a UC Irvine professor of population health and disease prevention, said that at the rate of the past week, it would take 22 days for the county’s death toll to reach 4,000. “It’s just a question of when, not if,” Noymer said.
Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, previously told the Desert Sun that public health officials need to follow the limited science that is available because the trials weren’t intended to see what would happen if thousands of people only got one of two required doses or got a second dose at a sporadic interval, “Every first shot is a promissory note on the second shot,” Noymer said. “Immunization means getting both of the shots at the proper interval.” Patients should leave the vaccination site with an already booked appointment for several weeks down the line to get that second shot, he said.
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.