Celebrating the holidays this year while staying healthy and safe won’t be simple. Several forces are converging on us in December 2021: the second holiday season blighted by Covid-19, the usual arrival of flu season, a winter surge of the Delta variant, and the sudden emergence of the Omicron variant. Seniors and the elderly in home care should take special care to stay safe when visiting outside their own households. This is even more important if they’re one of more than 60 percent of fully vaccinated seniors who haven’t received the booster shot yet. Here are four great reasons to observe Covid-19 safety measures while socializing and celebrating over the holidays.
There is a surge in Covid-19 hospitalizations: Per the L.A. Times on December 16th, “California’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have hit their highest number in more than a month. Over the past three weeks, COVID-19 hospitalizations statewide have risen by 16%, from 3,109 patients in hospitals on Nov. 23 to 3,613 as of Tuesday. The increase has been dramatic across Southern California. Since Nov. 23, COVID-19 hospitalizations have risen by 49% in Ventura County, 47% in San Diego County, 39% in Los Angeles County, 36% in Riverside County, 26% in San Bernardino County and 15% in Orange County.”
Omicron is spreading rapidly in the U.S. just as flu season starts and the Delta variant continues to dominate new Covid-19 cases: The Washington Post reported on December 14th that “Top federal health officials warned in a briefing Tuesday morning that the omicron variant is rapidly spreading in the United States and could peak in a massive wave of infections as soon as January, according to new modeling analyzed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The prevalence of omicron jumped sevenfold in a single week, according to the CDC, and at such a pace, the highly mutated variant of the coronavirus could ratchet up pressure on a health system already strained in many places as the delta variant continues its own surge.”
The Omicron variant is here in San Diego: NBC News 7 San Diego informed readers December 16th that “[a]n additional four cases of the Omicron variant were reported in San Diego County Wednesday [December 15th].” However, “UC San Diego researchers say that the fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus likely already makes up at least 20 percent of all new cases.” The rapid test they’ve developed shows the likelihood of which virus strain is present after 24 hours which is much faster than the weeks-long full genetic analysis, which current confirmed case numbers are based on.
There are new mask requirements: Per the CaliforniaHealthline.org website, “[c]iting a post-Thanksgiving increase in the statewide COVID-19 case rate, California health officials on Monday announced the state will return to a universal indoor mask requirement, lasting from this Wednesday through Jan. 15.” The State of California’s new mask mandate affects every Californian over the age of two, whatever their vaccine status.