October 1, 2022
COVID in California: Virus spread rising in all 58 counties in the state

COVID case rates in the Bay Area have now exceeded those of the devastating surge in the winter of 2020 to 2021, which was caused by what we now know as the “epsilon” variant. A massive survey of COVID-19 survivors sheds new light on predictors of long COVID. And UCSF chief of medicine Dr. Bob Wachter tweeted that 6.2% of people in San Francisco screenings not exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms tested positive for coronavirus infection, according to the latest hospital data.

Each of California’s 58 counties is seeing a growing “reproduction rate,” which means the spread of the virus is likely increasing statewide. The effective reproduction number, representing the average number of people to whom each infected person spreads the coronavirus, is above 1 in every county, according to state data. In the Bay Area, the estimated figure is highest in Solano County (1.79); Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties (1.60); and Alameda, San Mateo and Sonoma (1.52) counties. Nearly all counties fell below 0.05 following the winter omicron surge. Statewide, the highest rate is in Stanislaus County at 2.62, indicating that each infected person is spreading the virus to nearly three others; and lowest is in Humboldt County at 1.16, which is still above the baseline for no spread.

Officials from Pfizer said Wednesday that the company will provide its COVID-19 vaccine and nearly two dozen other products at discounted prices to some of the world’s poorest countries. Most of the 45 lower-income nations targeted to receive not-for-profit products from the drug maker are in Africa, but the list also includes Haiti, Syria, Cambodia and North Korea. Pfizer will also help with the rollout of the medicines and provide education and training programs for health care workers. “What we discovered through the pandemic was that supply was not enough to resolve the issues that these countries are having,” Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said Wednesday during a talk at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Wednesday said he tested positive for COVID-19 and was experiencing mild symptoms. “I’m thankful to be vaccinated and boosted,” he said in a tweet. “I hope all eligible Washingtonians consider getting their booster, which is our best tool for preventing serious illness.” Moments later, Lt. Gov. Denny Heck tweeted that he too has tested positive for the virus with “mild but unpleasant symptoms” and was taking Paxlovid. The same day Inslee and Heck disclosed their diagnoses, Washington state health officials urged people to wear face masks indoors as cases swell across the state. “The pandemic is not over — please continue to use all the tools at your disposal for protection: masks, vaccinations, boosters and social distancing when ill,” said Secretary of Health Dr. Umair Shah.

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