The severity of the Delta variant of the Sars-COV-2 virus is much more intense than the previous alpha variant and several times more contagious than the original virus. The United States has been hit hard and individual states are having to take strict measures to not only get themselves vaccinated but to follow PPE protocols that had been waived after the first variant struck and later reduced in intensity.
The state of California in the southwestern part of the United States is the first to announce some of those strict measures. The California state government has issued a diktat that starting August 2, state government employees in all offices and work centres will need to show proof of vaccination or get themselves tested for Covid at least once a week. Health workers along with staff in jails, hospitals and residential facilities have been given another week and will be required to comply from August 9.
California To Make Vaccination Proof Compulsory For Workers Or Else Show Covid Test Results
Healthcare centres and facilities need their unvaccinated staff to wear masks while on the job. These facilities have time until August 23 2021 to begin testing their staff and verifying whether they have got themselves vaccinated.
The cases of infections from the Delta variant of the Sars-COV-2 virus are on the rise in the state of California. The rise of infected cases increasing to 16.2 per 100,000 as of 25 July is a five-fold increase just a month ago. Data from the Health and Humanities Services (HHS) of California reveals there has been no increase in death from the Delta variant though hospitalization has gone up by 144% over the past month.
Dr Mark Ghaly, California HHS Secretary, is happy that his state has had the highest rate of vaccination compared to the other 49 of the United States. Dr Ghaly was also satisfied that California is way ahead of the goal of 70% set by US president Biden. But the challenge in California is to combat the misinformation about the virus and motivate hesitant communities to come out and get vaccinated.
The coronavirus tracking centre of the John Hopkins University School of medicine has been tracking the spread of Covid in the country. The data from this tracking centre reveals that half of all the states within the U.S. have witnessed a dramatic increase in Covid cases, hospitalisations and even the number of deaths. The matter of concern about this variant is that it has affected the states with lower rates of vaccination, leading CDC director Rochelle Walensky to comment that this is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.
Dr Ghaly and the Corona tracking centre at John Hopkins University have noted cases of infection beginning to increase in states where schools, institutes and businesses are being reopened and social distancing norms as well as stay at home norms being relaxed. Dr Ghaly advises studying at least 2 weeks’ trends before taking a decision on whether to reopen. He reminded his audience that even Federal advisories are advising states governments to wait until 14 days data shows a reducing trend in the number of infections.
There were certain urgent issues that led to this strict step being taken by the state government of California. The first was the continuous resistance by certain communities to get vaccinated and the second was the risk unvaccinated workers were subjecting people to.
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Data from coronavirus trends for the month of August will reveal how effective the steps taken by the Government of California will be in achieving a downward trend in the number of infections. If trends are encouraging, California will have become the state to emulate.