In California, 12% of adults say they will not get vaccinated, according to UCLA Center for Health Policy Research study. When one pairs that with the roughly 16% of the population under 13 years old who cannot get the vaccine and also those adults who are ineligible due to health issues, it seems about 25% of the state’s population may not get vaccinated any time soon.
That’s a troubling prospect, since most infectious disease experts put herd immunity at between 70% and 85% of the population being vaccinated. If 25% will not get vaccinated, then the ceiling for vaccinations in the state is already on the low end of that projected range.
Newsom has been asked every day this week about surging Covid numbers in the state and the possibility for renewed restrictions. His answers has been uniform. He has stressed the state has no plans for new restrictions, proposing the following instead: “Get vaccinated. We can end this thing quickly. If everybody got vaccinated we could end this thing in a month or so.”
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State officials also pointed out that, for the week of July 7-14, the average case rate among unvaccinated Californians is 13 per 100,000 and the average case rate among vaccinated Californians is significantly lower at 2 per 100,000. Additionally, between January 1 and July 14, cumulative Covid cases have occurred almost exclusively among unvaccinated individuals, at 99%.
But with 25% of the state’s population out of the vaccination pool, the math supporting Newsom’s victory by vaccination strategy gets difficult. Adding to the difficulty is that the state’s daily vaccination rate has fallen dramatically. It went from a high of about 500,000 doses per day in April, according to the Los Angeles Times, to what the state says is the current average of 61,000 per day. Wednesday’s actual daily total is likely lower than that average, since the numbers continue falling.
The vast majority of California’s vaccinations are now given in a two-dose regimen. So let’s say 30,000 people are fully inoculated every day in California. With 21 million of it’s nearly 40 million residents currently inoculated, it will take the state another 100-plus days to get to the 70-75% inoculation zone at current rates. That puts the timeline for Newsom’s vaccination plan into September, when kids are back to school.
Those who have had the virus also have some immunity but, according to a NIH post, it is reportedly less potent than the immunity of those who have been vaccinated. It also seems to protect against mutations better. And with the more transmissible Delta variant now dominant in the state, Californians need all the protection they can get.
While vaccination rates continue to fall, statewide infection numbers have been rapidly increasing. Over the course of the past 24 hours, the state rocketed from its highest new cases number since mid-February — 4,700 on Tuesday — to 5,285 on Wednesday. That’s a 12% jump in one day.
A more trusted data point, the number of cases per 100,000 people, rose from 7.2 per 100,000 on Tuesday to 8.1 per 100,000 on Wednesday. That’s a 12.5% increase in 24 hours and a near fourfold increase since Newsom reopened the state on June 15. The governor’s own Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system, which before June 15 limited business capacity and required masking in various situations, would put the state in the Red of “Substantial” spread category. Newsom might argue that those requirements were softened as more people got vaccinated — and the state now has close to 21 million residents fully inoculated. But the current spike in numbers is happening despite the higher number of people vaccinated.
As for the UCLA study, here are some other key findings:
-More than half of California adults said they did gather with people outside of their household when the state guidelines were still in effect
-More than one in five California adults said they never or only sometimes followed state guidelines
-Adults who would not get the vaccine were less likely to follow state and local guidelines
-The poorest adults were more likely to report that they would not get the vaccine, compared to adults with the highest income levels
-Latinos were more likely than whites to ever have received a positive test result for Covid-19
-Adults with the lowest incomes were more than twice as likely as those with highest incomes to ever test positive for COVID-19
City News Service contributed to this report.