11/16/2021 / By Zoey Sky
California’s strict measures to prevent Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) infections are proving to be a massive failure as data suggests that the state has twice the number of recorded cases compared to Deep South states like Florida and Texas.
Children aged five to 11 in California will soon be required to provide proof of vaccination to take part in indoor activities, while citizens are free to decide if they want to get vaccinated or wear masks in Florida.
Back in October, it seemed like California was winning against the pandemic as citizens in the state were wearing masks and getting vaccinated. Gov. Gavin Newsom even flaunted the fact that the Golden State “continues to lead the nation” as the only state to reach the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) yellow “moderate” tier of community virus transmission.
However, cases in the state have gone back up to the CDC’s red “high” level of virus transmission due to the emergence of the very contagious delta variant.
Meanwhile, infections aren’t as bad in Deep South states that have already “abandoned mask orders, opposed vaccine mandates, posted lower vaccination rates and saw larger outbreaks over the summer.”
California’s case rate is now more than Texas’ and double Florida’s. Texas, Florida and the rest of the Gulf Coast are down to the CDC’s orange “substantial” transmission level. (Related: How Florida beat coronavirus without masks or lockdowns, making California and New York look stupid by comparison.)
The majority of San Francisco Bay Area counties that are trying to go down the yellow moderate level are still stuck in the orange level. Meanwhile, both Marin and Santa Cruz counties are back to orange after going down the yellow level.
San Francisco is the only county in yellow and this has consequences for Bay Area residents. Local health officers have brought back indoor face mask-wearing mandates regardless of vaccination status. They added that the order will only be lifted after their counties have dropped below the orange level for three weeks.
Ali H. Mokdad, professor of health metrics sciences at the University of Washington, said California is “paying” for its success.
Because the state had higher vaccination levels compared to the Southeast, California recorded a smaller wave of cases over the summer while the delta variant spread across America. But people who recovered from the disease now have natural immunity.
Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the medical department at the University of California-San Francisco, said that these regions are now partly protected by high prior infection rates.
Despite California’s higher vaccination rate compared to other states, it’s not enough to prevent new outbreaks.
Presently, 62 percent of California’s total population is fully vaccinated. Florida’s population is 60 percent fully vaccinated, 54 percent in Texas, 49 percent in Georgia, 48 percent in Louisiana, 46 percent in Mississippi and 45 percent in Alabama.
Californians who were convinced that getting vaccinated was the key to preventing infections are now wondering how long their immunity will last. In the latter half of 2021, booster shots have been authorized mostly for older adults, those with compromised immune health and people with high exposure risk.
Among adults aged 65 and older, only 30 percent in California signed up for booster shots, not far from the 29 percent in Texas and 27 percent in Florida.
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