COVID-19 Emerges as A Disease For The Unvaccinated in Los Angeles County
Since the rollout of the Pfizer-Biontech COVID-19 vaccine in December of 2020, severe cases of infections are becoming increasingly limited to those who have not received the vaccine. The LADPH reports that from December 2020 to June 2021, 99% of the county’s COVID cases where in unvaccinated individuals. During this timeframe, the county reports 437,000 cases and nearly 13,000 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 infections.
The LADPH director Barbara Farrer describes this pattern of infections as “a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” In LA County, about 65 percent of people 16 and older are fully vaccinated. This means there is still plenty of potential for COVID-19 cases to increase uncontrollably, and ultimately prompt future lockdowns from city or state officials.
A scenario in which state officials suggest the need for further lockdowns is growing more likely. Since the beginning of April, the number of positive COVID tests steadily declined until early June. The number of tests that have positive results has taken an upward trend and have yet to reach a plateau. Therefore, if you have enjoyed the newfound optimism of the pandemic coming to an end, here are some things you can do at a personal level to help prevent the rise of infections:
- Get vaccinated. While there is still a small chance you can become infected with COVID, the risk of hospitalization and death is staggeringly lower than receiving no vaccine. The severity of an infection is greatly reduced when the body has already developed some immunity from a vaccine.
- Be smart about your interactions with people in public settings. If you are gathering with a group of friends who are all vaccinated, there is very little need to wear a mask or keep physical distance. However, densely populated spaces such as bars, indoor malls, churches, etc., increases the risk of inhaling airborne particles of saliva from someone’s cough or sneeze. It is wise to continue wearing a mask in these settings, especially if you are not vaccinated.
- When talking with unvaccinated friends or family about the benefits of being vaccinated, be patient and thoughtful. Take time to listen and understand why they feel hesitant about receiving a vaccine. Receiving a COVID vaccine has taken on a political significance, so your discussions will likely involve sensitive topics, including one’s political leaning, personal ethic, and worldview. Avoid arguments, insults, and combative language if you disagree with their reasoning against being vaccinated. Direct them to non-partisan sources for information, such as Pfizer’s FDA clinical trial data, the CDC, WHO, and other public health organizations.