Case Update: January 20, 2020; New UK Variant in San Diego

This is a case update, and I’ll also write briefly about cases of the UK variant, VOC 202012/01, arising in San Diego County.

Cases have plateaued and even appear to be falling in the US and San Diego, and perhaps even in California. Hopefully now with no major holidays pending, cases will go down in a significant way. This is just the beginning of a downward trend, and we still need to be diligent. Just because we’re past the middle of the woods, doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods! There are still a lot of new daily confirmed cases.

Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Endcoronavirus County Level Map, January 18th, 2021
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site.
Graph is by me, from data collected from Johns Hopkins University COVID site. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County.
Graph is by me, from data collected from San Diego County Public Health. See also regularly updated slides from SD County. “Active Confirmed Cases” numbers are calculated based on the assumption that patients confirmed to have SARS-2 virus at least 17 days ago have recovered.

New UK Variant confirmed in San Diego County: Several weeks ago, a patient in San Diego was confirmed to be carrying VOC 202012/01, the new UK variant discovered in December. The patient involved had not been traveling, so the new virus is suspected to already be circulating in the public.

This new variant appears to be more infectious that previous versions, but does not appear to be more virulent. It also appears that vaccine will still work against VOC 202012/01. Precautions taken against the original SARS-2 virus are still effective, so continue to take your normal precautions including:

1) Wear a mask or face covering in public. Avoid places with unmasked people.
2) Keep 6 ft away from others. (I basically ignore this one if other precautions are in place, especially on an airplane!)
3) Avoid indoor gatherings, especially ones in which singing or shouting is likely.
4) Small outdoor gatherings are fine, even without masks, if everyone maintains a distance.
5) While many restaurants are open for limited indoor seating, I personally am still not comfortable eating indoors at a restaurant. I enjoy eating outdoors at restaurants, however.
6) Wear an N95 or KN95 mask when going to more high risk areas like airports or public areas where people may gather. These masks are rated to filter out 95% of viral particles. In my opinion, surgical masks and especially neck gators are nearly worthless in these settings.
7) I never take my mask off on the plane, and find an isolate spot in the airport to eat or drink on layovers.

Don’t fear, but be smart!
Erik

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