On Wednesday, Dec. 22, Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steve Rosansky released a video announcement to Chamber members and other businesses and community members that offered an overview of Governor Newsom’s new three-part strategy to combat the coming surge in Covid cases, including the new omicron variant.
“Strategy one is to require all health care workers to get a booster shot by February 1, 2022,” said Rosansky in the video. “Second, the state will be making six million Covid 19n tests available to schools to test returning students after the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. The third strategy is to require Covid testing centers to have longer hours in order to service the expected increase in demand.”
There were two other important developments, said Rosansky.
“The FDA approved Pfiizer’s at home antiviral pill called Paxlovid for emergency use by persons 12 years old and up in high-risk categories,” said Rosansky. “The pill has been shown to be 90 percent effective in preventing hospitalization and death if taken within five days of the onset of coronavirus symptoms. It involves taking three pills twice a day for five days.”
Rosansky also noted that the Cal State university system announced that all faculty and students will need to receive a booster shot by Feb. 28 or within six months of being fully vaccinated. This follows on the heels of a similar announcement by the University of California system.
“Clearly the governor is continuing to take proactive steps to stem the spread of the coronavirus here in California and has no problem implementing measures like indoor masking and booster shots for healthcare workers,” stated Rosansky. “It’s not a stretch to imagine that he may extend the booster mandate further to state workers, teachers, and even employers, and reimpose restrictions on the size of public gatherings.”
According to Rosansky, the approval of Paxlovid by the FDA will be a game changer next year, although in the short term, it may not make much of a difference as Pfizer has only allocated 60 to 70 thousand doses of treatment for the United States. However, next year they plan to introduce 80 to 120 million doses.
“In the meantime, Paxlovid will only be available to the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions that make them vulnerable to severe covid infections.”
At this point, said Rosansky, “it looks like we are only at the beginning of a surge in cases here in Orange County. Based on what other areas of the U.S. and the rest of he world have experienced, omicron can spread more rapidly through the unvaccinated and vaccinated population than previous strains of the virus. Although it may be a milder form of covid, the sheer numbers in a short amount of time may ultimately tax our healthcare system, and we need to be prepared.”
Rosansky concluded his video remarks by stating “get vaccinated, or boosted, and be safe.”
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