Borrego Sun - Since 1949

COVID-19 Mutations A Problem


Last updated 8/11/2021 at 9:24am

A total of 1,273 cases were reported July 29. The rise in cases drove the county to recommend mask-wearing indoors for all San Diegans regardless of vaccination status. Total of cases for the 92004-zip code was 147. There was no breakdown as to which strain was the cause.

More bad news. The COVID-19 virus has mutated and continued to evolve over the course of time.

“Now we have a whole bunch of variants: alpha, beta, gamma, lambda is now a big one,” University of California San Diego Infectious Disease Doctor Davey Smith said.

Experts have identified each known variant and its origins explaining that each mutation offers the virus another opportunity to become more infectious thus leading to more spreading.

“Basically, what that means is that the virus has evolved to infect us better and it’s also able to evade our immune responses,” Dr. Smith said.

A worrisome mutation that Infectious Disease experts are conducting research to understand is the Lambda variant which experts believe is concerning. So far, the “variant of interest” has been detected in 29 countries, and it may spread more quickly than milder versions of the coronavirus.

“It has a lot of worrisome mutations that are attached to it. It can both infect a human better and evade immune responses,” Dr. Smith said.

Is it time to bring back the fire departments for another round of vaccinations? And how can Borrego encourage more people to get vaccinated?

“Unvaccinated people are overwhelmingly the ones getting infected and being hospitalized,” said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, county public health officer. “If you have not gotten your COVID-19 vaccine, do it now.”

San Diegans have largely turned to traditional vaccination clinics to get immunized against COVID-19.

According to county data, retail pharmacies are now the primary provider of vaccines, administering more than 100,000 doses in July through Wednesday. They were followed, in order, by community clinics, with nearly 20,000 doses; private medical providers, with nearly 17,000 doses; county sites, with around 13,000 doses; and hospitals, with just under 9,000 doses during the same time frame.

To date, around 2.28 million – or 81.4% of the 2.8 million San Diegans eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine – have received a first dose and around 1.97 million or 70.3% are fully vaccinated. In the past month, the local COVID-19 case rate has jumped from 2.1 to 19.3 cases per 100,000 residents. Hospitalizations have also increased more than 300% and intensive care unit admissions rose by over 120% during that same period. The county is helping medical providers contact all San Diegans who are partially vaccinated to get their second shot, especially now that COVID-19 cases have been going up.

The county is also using the San Diego Immunization Registry to develop follow-up reminders for those who are behind schedule.

In addition to the hundreds of COVID-19 vaccine locations available throughout the region, the county is also operating eight geographically distributed no-cost vaccination sites that allow people to choose any one of the three vaccines available in the United States: Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.

For a list of locations and more information, go to http://www.coronavirus-

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