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

By Alyssa Erdley
News with Attitude 

Continued Panic Porn from Los Angeles County's Barbara Ferrer as Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths Plummet

Egged on by media regarding the BA2 variant at her weekly briefing, Ferrer warned that "early alert signals" could retrigger adding "layers of protection."

 

March 21, 2022

LADPH

Early alert signals that have nothing to do with danger to the public health

March 18, 2022 - Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director of Public Health did her best to angle toward continued fear of Covid-19 and the importance of public readiness to get vaccinated and wear masks even as she noted the county had reached a "low risk level" per guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control. Yesterday there were on 36 Covid deaths and 495 people hospitalized. This is compared to deaths counts in the 80s and hospitalizations topping 4,800 during the height of the Omicron surge.

As a not-irrelevant aside, the deaths during the alpha-variant winter surge of 20-21, daily deaths often topped 200 and the number or hospitalized went over 8,000. The Omicron surge, though involving more people infected, also hospitalized and killed far less people EVEN IN RAW NUMBERS. And even for the unvaccinated. The death rate for Omicron was 8.32 times less than for Alpha - for the unvaccinated.

But Ferrer wants the public to know that we must be ready for the next surge. She displayed 7 "Early Alert Signals" that could retrigger the restrictions we are only now starting to shed. These signals include

1. Percent of specimens sequenced that are identified by WHO as a new variant of concern (must remain less than 10%)

2. 7-day average percent of Emergency Department encounters classified as Covid-related (must remain less than 5%)

3. 7-day cumulative crude case rate for low income areas (must remain less than 100 per 100k people)

4. Number of new outbreaks in skilled nursing facilities (must remain less than 10 for 7 days)

5. Number of new outbreaks in TK-12 schools (must remain less than 7 in 7 days)

6. Number of new outbreaks in PEH settings (must remain less than 10 in 7 days)

7. Number of worksite cluster reports (must remain less than 10 in 7 days)

It would not take much to trigger any one of these warning signals, none of which mean any kind of danger to the general public. Why care about the number of outbreaks, particularly in schools, when the virus is becoming less deadly all the time? Why are none of these alert signals related to hospitalizations - the category we've been told is the true reason for all of the masking and vaccine mandates and restrictions on gathering?

LADPH

Note that number of outbreaks appears to have zero relationship to any of the mass-gathering events listed on this graph - or to the dropping of the mask mandate 2 weeks ago

As of February 26, the last time Covid specimens were sequenced, 6.4% of specimens were of the new BA2 variant of the Omicron variant. The past surge we experienced involved the BA1 variant, and the BA2 variant is thought to be 30% more infectious. It is considered a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization. It seems likely that the next time specimens are sequenced, more than 10% of them will be BA2, and that will trigger new restrictions - even though cases - and most importantly hospitalizations and deaths - are going down.

Even though, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths have continued going down EVEN THOUGH THE MASK MANDATE AND MANY VACCINE MANDATES WERE DROPPED ON MARCH 4 - TWO WEEKS AGO.

On top of this, it is highly unlikely the BA2 variant is more deadly than the BA1 variant since every variant experienced by the county since the inception of the pandemic has been significantly less dangerous than the last.

Ferrer doesn't care about what is truly in the public health. She only cares about the metric by which she judges her "success:" high vaccine rates and low case rates. Vaccination rates do not help transmission rates, as we have proved multiple times in this column. And the ever-decreasing death rate from Covid has come from nature, not anything LA County Public Health has done.

 

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