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CDC report warns of ‘exponential’ growth in Covid-19 due to UK variant – Deadline

Friday afternoon, as the Los Angeles Supervisory Board met behind closed doors to discuss new, tougher arrest orders; Mayor Eric Garcetti and California Governor Gavin Newsom appeared together to try to revive the region’s overdue vaccination efforts; one of the main reasons for the urgency of these efforts has become clear.

Earlier today, the Centers for Disease Control released its weekly report on morbidity and mortality. The report revealed new modeling of the spread of B.1.1.7, also known as the UK variant of Covid-19, which is estimated to be 50% more transmissible than previous strains.

According to the CDC, “In this model, the prevalence of B.1.1.7 is initially low, but because it is more transmissible than the current variants, it shows rapid growth in early 2021, becoming the predominant variant in March. . ” The result of this predominance is that “B.1.1.7 results in a substantial change in the transmission trajectory and a new phase of exponential growth” in all cases of Covid-19. In light of this, the report warns, “efforts to prepare the health system for further outbreaks of cases are warranted.”

Los Angeles Covid-19 Update: County Supervisors Reportedly Discussing New Business Closures in Closed Meeting

Dr. Paul Simon, scientific director of the LA County Department of Public Health, said on Friday that the CDC’s modeling “indicates that there is a bit of cause for concern. That this strain has the potential to spread very, very quickly around the country and potentially – because it has so many mutations – has an impact on the ability of tests to identify it.

B.1.1.7 has already been identified in San Diego and San Bernardino, and Los Angeles director of public health Barbara Ferrer said this week that residents should assume it was also in Los Angeles. “Current expert projections predict that if left unchecked, this variant could dominate locally by March,” Ferrer said.

During that same press briefing, Ferrer would not rule out the possibility of imposing additional health restrictions, especially in light of the still high number of Covid infections, hospitalizations and deaths.

The Department of Public Health confirmed 258 new deaths on Friday, marking the fourth day in a row of more than 250 deaths from the pandemic. This means LA County has seen more than 1,000 Covid-related deaths in the past four days. Hospitalizations and intensive care beds occupied by patients infected with the virus remained near record levels. To date, the county has recorded 989,928 positive Covid cases and a total of 13,489 deaths. The county will likely register the first million total cases this weekend.

Ferrer urged residents to continue to adhere to existing health restrictions, while suggesting more may be needed.

“We should be prepared to do more if cases remain high,” she said Wednesday. “The work ahead requires us to take all necessary measures to reduce transmission.”

His words foreshadowed the CDC guidelines released on Friday. It reads: “The increased transmissibility of variant B.1.1.7 warrants rigorous implementation of public health strategies to reduce transmission and mitigate the potential impact of B.1.1.7, saving critical time to increase vaccination coverage. ” See Garcetti and Newsom’s appearance on Friday above. However, according to the CDC, “increased transmissibility also means that higher than expected vaccine coverage must be achieved to achieve the same level of disease control in order to protect the public from the less transmissible variants.”

On Thursday evening, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti spoke of possible business closures or other restrictions and said, “This is something I know the county is looking into.

When asked about businesses that could be affected, Garcetti said, “I think those are the obvious categories: whether schools stay open or not, indoor gyms, public youth leagues.”

The mayor said given the potential danger of the UK variant of the virus, “we must always be open and I will always follow the science and advice of our public health. [leaders] … And the county supervisors, who I know, are making some very tough decisions and are incredible leaders right now trying to figure out whether or not there should be further closures.

“But the moment [the transmission rate] is increasing, as we saw in December, at a rate like this, this is absolutely something that we cannot support, and most importantly, our hospitals cannot, and we would go into crisis mode there- low, ”he said.

Dr Simon stressed, however, that the county’s health restrictions are only effective if people actually adhere to them.

“We’ve closed a lot of stuff here, and the audience is just exhausted, I think,” he said. “And we’ve seen less compliance with restrictions… We can put additional restrictions in place, but unless they’re followed, they won’t have the desired impact. We are not a police state. It would be very difficult to use some of the extreme measures that have been taken in other countries. “

He implored people to adhere to the restrictions as much as possible and to continue to do what they can to minimize their risk of infection.

“Even though people can’t do everything all the time, try to minimize the risk,” he said. “It’s hard to deal with absolutely – never leave your house… or see anyone outside your home. It’s a difficult message. “

At the end of the day, he said, “We’re just urging people to hang on. We are moving on a positive path with the vaccine. “

Good news in the CDC report is that, in the modeling, “once B.1.1.7 became the dominant variant, its transmission was drastically reduced”. This may however be because everyone already has it.

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