Although the vaccination rates in Orange County hover around 70 percent, herd immunity has not yet been achieved. As a county we have done as well or better than most surrounding counties.
Much of the information that we have about COVID-19, however, is based on the variant that was most prevalent when the county opened in mid-June, the Alpha variant, and needs to be adjusted for the more contagious variant, Delta, which has taken over as the dominant strain.
Beach cities such as Newport Beach and Huntington Beach need to be particularly vigilant about Delta variant transmission ( as does Anaheim) because of the crowds of tourists that descend upon these tourist meccas, particularly in the summer and early fall.
Because of the chaos that exists now in the state as to whether or not masks are required, one special piece of information needs to be seriously considered in light of the dominance of the highly infectious Delta variant.
As the school year approaches, we need to focus on one fact: children under 12 remain ineligible for vaccinations. That means all the information handed down in the spring about where to place desks and whether masks should be required within schools, has become mostly obsolete because it was based on the dominant strain at that time.
Whereas much of the concern in the past was based on older adults, the new area of concern should be our children. Even if some people in our population are still reticent about getting vaccinated themselves, surely there must be concern for children under 12 who do not have that option.
Based on information today in a major metropolitan newspaper, “500 children have died from COVID, 150,000 to 240,000 have likely been hospitalized, and more than 4,000 have developed multisystem inflammatory syndrome. At the same time, only one child has died of the flu, making COVID-19, 400 times more deadly than the flu.”
With most Americans now going maskless indoors and with safety measures lifted, protecting our children should be our number one concern. For the most part, they can’t speak for themselves, so as responsible adults, we need to speak up for them.
Lynn Lorenz / Newport Beach