What's Up with Covid Breakthrough in Los Angeles?

Several patients this week asked me whether or not I thought they should still be wearing their masks since California eased up on their mask mandate. In the last week, we have seen some breakthrough Covid cases, which means that there have been reports of people testing positive for Covid in spite of being fully vaccinated. I just read in the news that In our capital in Sacramento, 4 out of 9 people who tested positive for Covid-19 had been vaccinated. Locally, I am aware of 6 people who have tested positive for Covid and have been vaccinated.

The anti-vaxxers are quick to say, "see, the vaccines don't work!" However, I would like to point out that we have seen a drastic reduction in new cases since the vaccines became available. Just to give you some perspective, on Jan.1, 2021, Los Angeles County reported 19,980 new cases with a 7 day average of 16,194 cases. This number drastically started reducing within a month after the vaccine rollout started. By May 24, 2021, we were down to 138 new cases with a 7 day average of 194. Now we are experiencing a slight uptick - yesterday we had 818 new cases with a 7 day average of 520. So you see, yes, we have more cases than in May, but still DRASTICALLY reduced since the last winter surge that occurred over the holiday season. I still think it is a good idea to get vaccinated. You have a lower chance of getting infected and if you get sick, you have a lower chance of going to the hospital and dying. The vaccines are good but they are not 100%.

In regards to the question about whether or not to mask, I would say that it is important to assess your own personal level of risk that you are comfortable with. Things to consider include whether you are indoors or outdoors, how many people are there, whether or not you and the people you are with have been vaccinated, what neighborhood or situation you are in. In my experience, I see most people still masking, although patients have told me they have been in areas of Los Angeles where masking is only about 50%. Just know that there are pockets of areas with lower vaccination rates that will have more cases of the delta variant showing up. Personally, I am still wearing my mask when I am at work or shopping. I am not wearing my mask when I am at home or outdoors exercising and there is no one around. Better safe than sorry!

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