Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) just scored another victory over California Governor Gavin Newsom (D), as the current COVID infection rate in California is presently twice the level of Florida’s. California’s higher COVID infection rate arises even as the state implements strict mask and vaccine mandates in order to stymie the virus’s spread.
Ali H. Mokdad, a Professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the University of Washington, informed Mercury News that Californians are currently “paying for [their] success, which is weird,” given that they apparently are not “reaping more reward for their adherence to health guidance.”
“You succeed in controlling the virus,” Mokdad continued, “[yet] now you’re having infections.”
Across California, COVID cases are no longer falling; on the contrary, infection rates have increased per data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Currently, the state is classified as red, which denotes a “high” level of COVID virus transmission originating from the highly infectious delta variant.
On the other hand, southern states, including Florida and Texas, which have eschewed mask mandates and other restrictions at this point in time, are classified as “orange,” which entails a “substantial,” rather than “high,” level of COVID transmission.
Moreover, California also boasts a higher vaccination rate than both Florida and Texas, yet in spite of the high level of vaccinations, the state continues to experience COVID-related outbreaks. Approximately 62 percent of California’s population has been fully vaccinated; in contrast, 54 percent of Texans and 60 percent of Floridians have been fully vaccinated.
In addition, Newsom, along with other public state officials, implemented some of the harshest COVID restrictions in the state over the past year, which have carried well into 2021.
For instance, in the Bay Area, public health officials have reimplemented mandatory masks, with no plans to lift the orders until the entire area falls below the “orange” transmission level for a period of three weeks of more. Thus far, the majority of Bay Area counties have remained in the orange zone, aside from San Francisco, which is classified as “yellow” per the CDC.
California witnessed fewer instances of the delta variant over the summer due to the higher vaccination rate in the state. In addition, those who were not previously vaccinated yet infected with COVID also have natural immunity, which stymies the ability of the virus to spread.
“These regions are now being partly protected by high prior infection rates,” proclaimed Dr. Bob Wachter, who serves as Chair of the Medical Department at the University of California San Francisco.
“But these people whose immunity comes from COVID-19 are not very well protected,” Wachter warned, “and their immunity will wane with time.”
The professor also made cautionary remarks regarding waning immunity and low booster shots, observing that “the end result” is an effective plateau with regards to improvements in mitigating the virus’s spread.
“It’s likely we’ll soon see some significant upticks,” Wachter said ominously, adding that the state “still [has] too many unvaccinated people.”
On the other side of the nation, Florida has hit a favorable new benchmark. In the past week, Doctor’s Hospital, which was the first hospital in the state that treated a COVID patient in 2020, has announced that it currently has no COVID patients in its care at the moment.
“This is great news!” Christina Pushaw, who serves as the Press Secretary for DeSantis, exclaimed.
Pushaw also added that hospitalizations related to COVID have been declining by more than 70 days straight across the state, and that Florida is also currently “at an all time low in terms of the number of COVID patients hospitalized statewide.”
“[Governor] DeSantis is proud of Florida’s success with launching monoclonal antibody treatment sites throughout the state,” Pushaw concluded, noting that these centers “made a huge impact on lowering hospitalizations and saving lives.”