Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Alyssa Erdley
News with Attitude 

Second Omicron Case Found in LA County, Also in Fully Vaccinated Individual

Barbara Ferrer of Public Health wants public to "layer on as many protections as possible" while admitting she does not know the severity of the disease

 

December 10, 2021

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The Omicron is "wildly" different from previous mutations, including Delta, but they think the vaccines will still be effective at slowing transmission?

December 6, 2021 - The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced today they have discovered a second individual in the area who is infected with the new Omicron variant (B.1.1.529). The infected individual is a college student returning from holiday travel to the East Coast. This person is fully vaccinated and experiencing mild symptoms.

County officials have concluded, "based on travel history," that it is "likely" the infection was acquired outside of Los Angeles County.

Four days ago, officials announced the first Omicron case in the county, a fully vaccinated adult who was returning from travel to South Africa via London. That individual's symptoms were reported as "improving without medical care."

Health officials appear eager to ascribe these new infections to areas outside of LA County, as if that makes a difference. Today, an Omicron infection is news and possible sources of an individual's infection can be surmised. A few weeks from now, Omicron infections will likely be too commonplace for one of them to make the news, and transmission sources will be "community," another way of saying, "it could have come from anywhere because it's all over the place."

The only real question about Omicron is if the present batch of vaccines will have any effect on this new mutation of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Two Omicron patients is not enough upon which to draw conclusions, but the fact remains that both were fully vaccinated. Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health was forced to admit in today's press release that "we are still determining the transmissibility and the severity of Omicron." This fact did not stop her, however, from urging vaccination and boosters, with the clear implication that these might prevent an infection by Omicron. In reality, she doesn't know.

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Known Omicron cases as of Dec 3 (by country, not city or region)

But she clearly has her suspicions. She urged the public to wear a mask pretty much everywhere, "when indoors or at large outdoor mega events...any crowded indoor or outdoor events." Regardless of vaccination status. She appears to doubt the vaccines will have much effect on transmissibility. Since the vaccines had far less effect on slowing transmission on the Delta variant than advertised (about a third of the county's Covid cases are among the vaccinated), it reasonably follows they will have even less effect on an even further mutated variant.

So Ferrer's strategy for slowing the spread of this "potentially dangerous variant" is to "[layer] on as many protections as possible." She is rational enough to avoid claiming she can stop the spread of Omicron altogether. She is crafty enough to declare the new variant potentially dangerous. That way she can control the public with whatever new draconian measures she feels will prove she's doing her job.

Look for the media to fixate on the number of cases of Omicron as they inevitably rise. They will simultaneously ignore the case fatality rate, which is the only number that really matters. And so, too, will Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health.

 

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