From the Borrego COVID-19 Task Force...


Last updated 12/21/2021 at 2:22pm

We have been experiencing another wave of COVID that has been infecting many more unvaccinated people than vaccinated people throughout the U.S.

Last week, the County reported 14 new cases of COVID in Borrego Springs – the most we’ve had since a couple of weeks after Thanksgiving 2020. Hopefully we will not repeat the surge we had last year after Christmas and New Years.

The Delta variant is as transmissible as chickenpox. About 95% of Americans born before the chickenpox (varicella) vaccine was available have had chickenpox.

Information is accumulating that Omicron may be much more transmissible than Delta. Lab studies have demonstrated Omicron invades cells, especially from nasal and sinus tissues, much faster than Delta. Many observations from various countries report rapid spread of Omicron – cases doubling every 2 – 3 days in countries like Denmark and Great Britain.

Consider the following still speculation from few studies, which will need to be confirm by more studies:

People infected in the early waves of COVID probably have too little immunity now to resist Delta or Omicron.

People who received two doses of Pfizer or Moderna are probably only 30% – 40% less likely than unvaccinated people to be infected by Omicron.

Note that the studies of immunity to Omicron are based upon laboratory analysis of neutralizing antibodies which Amy be different that “real world” experience, and does not reflect the impact of the underlying protection that B cells and T cells may provide.

However, those with two doses of vaccine still have a high level of protection against hospitalization and death.

The antibody levels are restored to high levels for those who get a Pfizer booster after two doses of vaccine or prior infection. They get protection from infection in the range of 80% compared to unvaccinated people. (The restoration of antibody levels with a booster of Moderna was just reported, but from a very small sample study).

These two pieces of information prompted public health authorities around the world to strongly recommend that people get booster shots.

The scientists are essentially saying that while we wait for research to confirm or contradict these early studies and observations, we may find out we were wrong one way or the other. So, it is better to get a booster and find out that it was not helpful than to not get a booster and find out you needed it - like unvaccinated people hospitalized with COVID saying they wish they’d gotten vaccinated.

– Borrego Springs COVID-19 Task Force

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