Yes, many Utahns are already getting COVID-19, even if they have been vaccinated and boosted against the virus, thanks to the incredibly transmissible ommicron variant by the state and sending Thursday’s cases to nearly 13,000.
But no, say health experts, that doesn’t mean Utahns should give up protecting themselves and others from COVID-19 by staying on top of their shots. wearing masks and avoiding crowds — even if most people will eventually contract the virus.
“Our advice is that people take precautions, such as getting vaccinated and boosting or wearing masks in public places, to prevent them from contracting COVID-19,” said Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko. about whether most Utahns will be infected with ommicron.
Earlier this week, officials of the Biden administration, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, however, that most people will get the virus.
“Virtually everyone will eventually be exposed and likely to become infected. But if you’re vaccinated and get a boost, the chances of you getting sick are very, very slim,” Fauci said at a White House news conference on Wednesday.
Han Kim, a professor of public health at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, agreed.
“Eventually, most of us will get omicron because it’s so contagious, even if we do all the right things,” Kim said. diseases we know,” almost as contagious as measles.
At the same time, he said that omicron appears to be milder than previous variants, so that infected people are “more likely to continue their daily activities even if they are spreading virus, either because they are asymptomatic or because they have such a mild disease, combined with the fact that we actually have very little mitigation.”
The States healthcare systems are being flooded with omicron cases, as the sheer number of infections can translate to as many, if not more hospitalizations and possible deaths as with previous spikes of more virulent variants such as delta. The virus showed up for the first time in Utah about six weeks ago.
So while some may see Omicron as a sign that it’s time to be wary and face an attack from Omicron to hasten an end to the pandemic, the professor warned that’s a bad idea. Not only are hospitals struggling, COVID-19 treatments such as monoclonal antibodies are so scarce, they are… rationed.
“This is a tricky message to send out, because here’s the thing. If everyone relaxes and goes out, yes, we’re going to peak, peak, peak,” Kim said, but at a high cost for the level of health care that can be provided.
He said the possibility of hospitals facing a “collapse is not an exaggeration, as they are stressed.”
Everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should still take steps to avoid the virus, including wearing high-quality masks and avoiding crowds and other situations where the virus might spread, Kim said, “because there’s still that chance” to become seriously ill.
Be fully vaccinated and then a booster shot is considered to be the most protective against hospitalization and death. in Salt Lake County, business is split between vaccinated and unvaccinated, but only 10% of those infected received a boost.
The suggestion that most people will eventually get omiron doesn’t change what we can do, Kim said.
The issue of how widespread the latest wave could prove to be was raised Tuesday during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing that discussed the new variants.
“I think it’s hard to process what’s really happening right now, which is that most people are going to get COVID,” Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock told the committee in response to the administration’s suggestion that the administration’s pandemic responses were disruptive on this point. .
“What we need to do is make sure that the hospitals can still function and that transportation and other essential services are not disrupted while this is happening,” she said. “After that, it’s a good time to reassess how we’re approaching this pandemic.”
A day later, Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, told reporters that when the FDA commissioner said most people would eventually receive omicron, she didn’t say they would get sick, citing the effectiveness of vaccinations and booster shots in preventing hospitalizations and deaths.
But even fell once ommicron Highlight, Fauci said, COVID-19 will still be there.
“We’re not going to eradicate this; we’ve only done that with smallpox. We’re not going to eliminate that; that only happens with mass vaccination programs as we did with measles and with vaccines. But eventually we’ll get it under control,” he said, referring to keeping infections low.
On Thursday, the 12,990 new cases reported by the state’s health department came a day after the state hit the 10,000 for the first time for everyday cases. The ommicron wave in the new year has overshadowed the worst pandemic, as the daily number of cases approached 5,000 last winter.
The state’s seven-day moving average for positive tests has reached 9,564 per day, and the seven-day moving average for percent test positivity is 36.5% when all results are counted and 25.2% when multiple tests are excluded by a person. The state’s numbers don’t include results from home testing kits.
The state’s death toll from the virus is approaching 4,000 lives lost with the seven additional deaths reported Thursday. Currently, 638 people are hospitalized in Utah with COVID-19, and 182 of them are in intensive care.