23 May 2021 Blog Post: Approaching Containment, Hoping for Elimination
What a year it has been. Here in Los Angeles County we experienced a pandemic high of COVID-19 cases the week of 1/5/2021 at 145.0 new daily cases per 100,000 population. For the most recent week of data ending 5/18 we have dropped to 1.8 new daily cases per 100,000. Viral containment is generally defined as fewer than 1 new daily case per 100,000 and we should be there within the next 2 weeks.
Similarly mortality has plummeted from 2.76 deaths per 100,000 the week ending 1/12 to 0.04 deaths per 100,000 last week (Figure 1 below).
A number of factors account for this dramatic turn around, but none more powerful than the role of vaccination. It is for this reason that mortality rates declined more precipitously than did case rates. However, mortality rates have been flat – low at 0.04 per 100,000 – but still flat for the past three weeks.
With vaccination as our best and most effective preventive measure, then it is here that our public health officials need to focus their efforts. There remains a significant disparity in vaccination rates, with Latinx and African-American residents under the age of 65 less likely to be vaccinated. Over 75% of White and Asian residents over the age of 65 have been vaccinated, compared to 63% and 66% of African-American and Latinx residents. This difference is even more marked among those under the age of 65. Whereas 70% and 62% of Asian and Caucasians have been vaccinated, these drop to 39% and 44% for African-American and Latinx individuals (source: http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/media/coronavirus/vaccine/vaccine-dashboard.htm#selectcity).
This remains our health officials’ greatest responsibility at this point, as we have made tremendous strides towards viral containment. But to move from containment to elimination, we must address these glaring disparities.
𝗦𝗶𝗴𝗻 𝗨𝗽 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗢𝘂𝗿 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝘀𝗹𝗲𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿