On today’s Through Science to Health, KPTZ’s Dick Keenan interviewed Kate Keenan, Retired Communicable Disease Investigator from San Diego County. They discussed the big picture, that the virus continues to pose a threat to our collective health 18 months after the first reported cases in our state.
The Delta variant is dramatically changing the face of the pandemic. It is more transmissible and infectious, affecting even those who have been fully vaccinated. Returning to masking when indoors, despite vaccination, is the best chance of reducing community spread. Our current case rate is the highest it’s ever been: 263 per 100,000 population.
Vaccination remains effective at preventing hospitalization and death, but slightly less effective at reducing infection, once exposed. Thus the new recommendation to provide an additional dose for those immunocompromised persons. This data comes from a country with high immunization rates – Israel – who decided that an additional dose would blunt fresh waves of hospitalizations in the face of the delta variant. The additional doses are not a new formula, but a repeat of the shots you originally received. Future vaccines may be reformulated according to the variants circulating.
Human behavior is the most complicated factor in maneuvering this pandemic. Although we have made remarkable progress with a safe and effective vaccine, medical treatments and sufficient masking supplies, there is also progress in a population response to the current threat of the Delta variant. As much as we want our old world back, many individuals, organizations and businesses are adopting the interventions we know stems the tide of more community spread such as masking, reducing traveling and monitoring ourselves for any sign of infection.