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Does California’s coronavirus variant prevent spring growth?

As coronavirus cases and related hospitalizations climb across the country, is California also heading for a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The Midwest, New England, and New York areas have been experiencing alarming increases in coronavirus cases, and some have expressed concern that Los Angeles County has previously been only a few weeks behind trends coming out of New York. In the last week, the average daily incidence of coronavirus nationally has increased 5% compared to the previous week, and the change in new COVID-1

9 admissions has increased by 7%.

But so far, California is relatively good in good shape. California has one of the lowest average daily rates of coronavirus in the country over the past seven-day period, while Michigan’s rate – the worst in the country – is 12 times higher than California’s, putting increasing strain on hospitals there.

One factor that may help California – for reasons not fully understood – is the presence of the California variant. The California variant here may help keep a lid on the British variant, which is thought to be more transmissible than the conventional strains of coronavirus and is likely to result in a greater chance of death.

Here are some reasons why Michigan may be doing so poorly, while California – so far – seems to be doing much better.

The British tribe dominates the Midwest outbreak

Michigan’s current wave is approaching an intensity as strong as the height of its winter rise, said Dr. George Rutherford, an epidemiologist from UC San Francisco, at a recent campus forum. Michigan’s recent wave was spurred by athletic youth events, including major outbursts involving hockey teams, Rutherford said. Minnesota also sees a cluster of new cases.

A major factor in the Midwest rise is the presence of the British variant, which now accounts for about 70% of Michigan and Minnesota’s new coronavirus cases, Rutherford said. Michigan now sees its hospitals under pressure from patient shock, and some state hospitals are canceling non-emergency procedures and adopting pandemic wave plans, the Detroit Free Press reported.

One bright side, though, is that the cluster in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Connecticut seems to be “starting to turn the corner a bit,” Rutherford said.

An outstanding question is whether the increase in COVID-19 in the adjacent Canadian province of Ontario affects the increase in cases in the Midwest and Northeast, Rutherford said. “The borders are closed, [so] I’m not quite sure what that all means. But it is something to be aware of, ”Rutherford said.

Doctors in Ontario have begun asking government officials to send more intensive care nurses to the Toronto area “to avoid a triage situation,” the Toronto Star reported Saturday.

The California variant may be keeping the British tribe under control

In California, the British variant probably accounts for 40% of new cases of coronavirus, Rutherford said, but unlike in Michigan, “it has not driven the overall epidemic curve,” Rutherford said.

Part of the reason for this is that the Californian variant may surpass the British variant to dominate the state. Of virus samples that have been sequenced genomically, more than 12,000 cases of the California variant – also known as the West Coast variant (B.1.427 / B.1.429) – have been identified in California compared to 980 of the British variant (B.1.1 .7).

The California variant is believed to be 20% more transmissible than the conventional coronavirus strains, but the British variant is believed to be 50% more transmissible and more likely to cause worse disease.

Some experts have said they would assume the British variant would displace the California variant. But Rutherford said something counterintuitive that the California variant might keep the British variant in check.

Rutherford said he could not fully explain it, but “for some reason they seem to be pushing it out of the way.” A forthcoming study of coronavirus cases identified in San Francisco’s Mission District is hardly expected to report cases of the British variant.

It is possible that California will eventually be dominated by the British variant, Rutherford said. “But right now we have a lot more of it [California variant], ”Said Rutherford.

If you had to choose between the California variant and the British variant, which is more dominant, the Californian variant is preferred because it is relatively less transmissible and deadly than the British variant.

“If it was the British variant [that was dominating California], we would be in worse shape, ”said Dr. Robert Wachter, president of the UC San Francisco Department of Medicine, at the campus forum.

Relatively high levels of immunity can help California

The fall and winter rise in California tore through many lower incomes and strong Latino communities, leaving a high death toll. These communities were particularly hard hit because many residents live in overcrowded homes and have jobs that require them to leave the home and expose them to a higher risk of infection.

However, the intensity of the autumn and winter waves has resulted in a large number of survivors now having protection against coronavirus infections and COVID-19.

Officials estimate that approx. 38% of LA County residents have been infected with coronavirus since the start of the pandemic. And Rutherford said he suspects there are parts of LA, such as in Boyle Heights and South LA, where half of the residents have been infected.

Rutherford said it is possible that California could reach something approaching herd immunity by June 15.

Lockdowns policy is tough in Michigan

So far, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has refused to impose new mandatory restrictions to cope with the recent rise. On Friday, Whitmer called for a voluntary suspension of two weeks of indoor restaurant dining, youth sports and personal high school classes and opted for mandatory orders, though some doctors say they are necessary.

“No one wants another shutdown, but we need it,” tweeted Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician and author of “What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance and Hope in an American City.” Hanna-Attisha won the Freedom of Expression Courage Award for her efforts in exposing the dangerous levels of lead in the water of Flint, Mich.

After the rise in the fall and winter, the indoor restaurant in Michigan resumed on Feb. 1; LA County resumed indoor restaurant dining much later, allowing operations to reopen on March 15.

National experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s leading expert on infectious diseases, has long warned against states reopening businesses too soon after the winter outbreak, fearing a rapid reopening will result in a setback in another wave.

In late February, Fauci warned against state movements for reopening too soon. On CNN, Fauci noted that in earlier periods of the pandemic, “when we started retiring too early, we saw rebound. We certainly do not want that to happen. ”

Last week, the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, for “stronger mitigation strategies” to reduce transmission of diseases in Michigan.

What can cause problems in California?

Problems that could delay the end of the California pandemic include the introduction of a new variant in California or the discovery of a problem with a vaccine that could undermine confidence in the shots, Rutherford said.

The vaccines now approved in the United States have proven to be very effective and very safe, experts say. And the variants that pose a relatively higher risk of being resistant to vaccines – the South African and Brazilian variants – have not yet established a firm grip in the United States

“The number of states with more than a handful of cases of these is really vanishingly small,” Rutherford said. “I really haven’t seen it yet that makes me worry.”

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