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Letters to the Editor

As the virus settles following a holiday increase, difficult to tell what the future holds

I appreciate that StuNews presents the weekly coronavirus statistics for Orange County. Often, I do not check them unless an unusual statistic is evident. 

Last week I was very surprised to see that there were 756(!) new cases in Newport Beach, a number not out of line with the rest of the county. Yesterday the local paper confirmed that there were 709 confirmed cases among students and teachers in Newport-Mesa School District. That is a remarkable figure, but not in a good way. We must remember that Costa Mesa stats must be included and that there were 1,806 new cases in Costa Mesa. So given those figures, it becomes apparent that 27% of the new cases last week occurred in our schools!

First of all, all of those numbers are noticeably high. Part of that reason is that our schools are now open. As a former teacher, I could go on and on about that issue alone, but my focus is centered on the latest surge that we are experiencing, high numbers overall, and the future of the virus. 

It used to be friends of friends who got COVID, but few people that you knew. But now it has come down to cases of COVID in your own circle of friends, even in your family. And yet the vaccination rate of Orange County has not changed from many months ago. Don’t fool yourself that Newport Beach is way above the county average because it is not. Rates in Newport Beach hover around 70%, about the same as the rest of Orange County, lower than some cities like those in Irvine which are in the 90th percentile, slightly lower or above other Orange County cities. One area in Newport, Newport Coast was in the high 70s, last time I looked.

I know exactly the excuse that people are giving now, Omicron is a much milder variant, like the flu or a cold. First of all, if you are not vaccinated, it will be much different for you, particularly in the higher age ranges. Still however, if you are a senior and you are vaccinated and “boostered,” you will most likely survive with flulike symptoms. It is the unvaccinated who are flooding our hospitals.

We have all heard very recently the theory that Omicron marks a downward trajectory in the evolution of the virus. This information came from health officials in San Francisco and UCLA just this last week. These sources say that the pandemic could become an endemic because of the mild nature of this variant compared to others.

However, another source, the World Health Director General, says that the virus will not become endemic like the flu as long as global vaccinations are so low. Remember how Omicron came out of South Africa in November and spread like wildfire?

The theory is that until we approach herd immunity in the world, variants could crop up anywhere, and there is no certainty about what their characteristics will be.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach