Doctors cautiously optimistic as California’s COVID-19 numbers improve

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Across the state of California, February’s COVID-19 numbers are improving from where they were in January.

Doctors are optimistic it could mean the end of the pandemic is getting closer.

“What we saw was a big surge probably related to the holidays, to Christmas and New Year’s, and a lot of infections and deaths,” said Dr. Dean Blumberg, chief of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at UC Davis Health. “And that has been decreasing since the end of January. We’ve seen less infections, we’ve seen less deaths, and so we’re heading to a better place right now.”

Dr. Blumberg said with U.S. Food and Drug Administration vaccine advisers recommending authorization of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine Friday the situation across California will only get better.

“And then there’s two other vaccines, the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine and the Novavax vaccine, that we expect to apply for emergency use authorization to the FDA over the next two months,” he told FOX40. “So we might have five vaccines available and that will make sure that we have more doses that we can give.”

However, Blumberg said we’re not out of this pandemic just yet.

“One thing that makes me a little bit worried though is the new variant, and we’re not sure how that’s going to affect the pandemic,” Blumberg said.

He said the UK variant now counts for about 10% of new COVID-19 infections in the U.S.

“And remember, this variant is about 50% more infectious than the previous circulating strain and up to 65% more deadly,” he explained.

He also said there is still not enough data on if the virus will still spread through those who are vaccinated.

“So the one issue is the person who’s vaccinated, is it safe to them?” he said. “And the other issue is can they be without a mask and potentially affect others who aren’t vaccinated?”

That means masks and social distancing may still be around for a while.

But the more vaccines are distributed, Dr. Blumberg said he believes things will return to normal.

“We expect more immunity within our communities, so we hope to open more and more things up in the future,” he said.

For now, until someone gets their second dose and waits two weeks, health officials say social distancing and masking up will still need to happen.

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