Appended at the end of this article are screenshots from the San Mateo County Health Data Dashboards as of the morning of 7/16/21. Case data can be found at https://www.smchealth.org/data-dashboard/county-data-dashboard and vaccination data at https://www.smchealth.org/data-dashboard/vaccination-demographic-data. The third picture in the series shows graphs going back to the start of the pandemic, while the fourth picture’s graphs zoom in on the past 30 days which coincide with our “reopening.” Also realize that case counts do not describe the entire picture, e.g., vaccinated people who just get a very mild case might not bother to test for COVID because they think that they “just have a cold.”
Cases remain low but have been steadily rising since the June 15th reopening as expected. The Reff value is up to 1.19. Vaccination rates are excellent except in the 12-15 and 16-24 age cohorts. Sadly, the county uses different age cohorts in reporting the case data versus the vaccination data which complicates comparisons.
It is important that we continue to vaccinate eligible minors before the school year starts. Even though the current vaccines appear to protect people from serious illness from the currently predominant Delta variant, there are sufficient reports of vaccinated people getting sick that problems could still result when kids go back to school.
Eric Feigl-Ding is an epidemiologist and health economist with the Federation of American Scientists. He recently passed along on his Twitter feed the link to the following article written by a North Carolina pastor.
The pastor, his wife, and their older son were all vaccinated (Pfizer shots), but their 11 year old daughter was not. They left on a family vacation and the daughter became ill. They didn’t get her tested immediately, but it turned out to be COVID. Because they were traveling in close contact with her without masks, the rest of the family also became ill despite being vaccinated.
While this is an anecdotal story, not a research study, it appears to indicate that, while the vaccine protects one from serious illness, it does not prevent one from getting ill if exposed to “enough virus” and then feeling pretty crummy for possibly an extended period of time.
In addition, according to Dr. Bob Wachter, Chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine, long COVID can hit those who only get mild symptoms; they just do not have sufficient data on this topic yet (see https://twitter.com/bob_wachter/status/1409599950535622657?s=21 ), so Dr. Wachter continues to recommend masks when in close quarters. He states “As for me, I’m back to double-mask in stores. Still indoor dining but might abort if trends continue.” : https://twitter.com/bob_wachter/status/1415758523397328897?s=21 .
Let’s please continue to exercise prudent precautions and not have to learn yet again how “devious” this virus can be.
There are higher priorities in life than hanging out in bars without masks, simply to express “our freedom”…
Being able to educate children at school should be one of them.