Friday, June 10 2022
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — The Bay Area is facing another surge in the pandemic and now has the highest COVID-19 infection rates in all of California.

“We continue to see high levels of the virus circulating in the community. It’s very easy to get infected right now,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist at UCSF.

Three Bay Area counties have more than 200,000 cases: Santa Clara, Alameda and Contra Costa. Much of it is powered by the highly contagious omicron subvariants.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Bay Area had some of the strictest COVID mandates in the country. And as Dr. Chin-Hong explains, it’s because the Bay Area has done so well that it’s seeing an increase in current.

VIDEO: Expert says current COVID surge in California ‘will peak in early June’

“Because we’ve been good for so long, we’re likely to get infected with a virus that’s waned a lot, so our vaccines don’t recognize it as easily,” he says.

Another factor is location. Global restrictions are easing, which means people are traveling more, with many coming to the Bay Area.

“Bay Area risk is not just Bay Area risk. It is the risk of all the people who visit, and they come from very different places, some that have very different levels virus,” says Chin-Hong.

Most medical experts insist that vaccines help reduce hospitalizations, especially compared to the winter surge. However, the Bay Area continues to see a small uptick in recent weeks, according to Stanford infectious disease researcher Dr. Abraar Karan.

VIDEO: Scientists explain why getting infected with omicron doesn’t protect you from other variants of COVID

“While it is true that we now have the clinical tools that we did not have before and a better understanding of this disease from a clinical perspective, the reality is that a strong surge like this remains a big problem,” says Dr. Karan.

He says there are several reasons for this, but the most important is the number of people who will miss work.

Karan adds that the public health response must adapt to the increase in numbers as he says no single strategy will be the same for all variants.

“There’s no guarantee with the variants in terms of what’s going to happen next. It could be more transmissible. It’s happened many times now. It could be more virulent, causing more severe disease, which happened with the delta in particular,” says Dr Karan.

Vaccines help prevent serious illness and death, but medical experts want people to stick to the basics: get boosted. Have it tested. Wear a mask. And social distancing.


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