The coronavirus is spreading more in California than ever before, but as California enters its third year of pandemic, the COVID landscape may be more complex than ever.
The statewide case rate doubled in just six days from an already record high, challenging public health policies and strategies adopted since vaccination became widely available this summer.
Here are five charts that show what’s different about this winter’s COVID surge.
California passes 6 million case mark
California added 1 million new COVID cases in just 17 days during this surge, with Tuesday’s data update reporting more than 6 million cases. The first was the fastest the state added one lakh new cases in 26 days during last winter’s surge.
record case rate
Case rates nationwide and in California have surpassed previous record highs. The 7-day average of new cases being reported to the California Department of Public Health passed 100,000 for the first time, according to data updated on Monday.
The 7-day average of new cases reported dropped for the first time since the surge began with Tuesday’s update, which could be a good sign that case rates are peaking, but holiday reporting discrepancies may be to blame.
The positivity rate indicates that we have reached the peak
The positivity rate is one of the first metrics to show an increase as the coronavirus progresses, and it is also one of the first to indicate a peak has been reached and the number of new infections is beginning to decline.
The rate – which represents the percentage of COVID tests that come back positive – is a good indicator of the level at which COVID is spreading at any given time, and is less dependent on how much testing is being done. , and is less affected by the incomplete reporting of recent times. After increasing tenfold from 2% in just 3 weeks, the positivity rate has remained relatively stable around 22% for about a week.
It took weeks for the previous waves to peak, but data from those sites previously observed omicron outbreaks may have peaked and began to fall more quickly.
Hospitalizations and Cases of Death by “De-coupling”
We are seeing a sharp increase in hospitalized COVID patients – as of January 10, there were 12,347 COVID patients in California hospitals, which is more than half the number of hospitalized COVID patients during the peak of last winter.
But different from the earlier surge, we are seeing a “de-coupling” of trend lines for hospitalizations and cases, as vaccinations are widespread and Omicron is generally causing less severe disease than previous variants.
For example, cases are nearly 200% or double of their previous peak, while hospitalizations in the state have crossed only 50% of their previous peak. But the cases may not peak yet, and there is a lag of about 7-14 days in the hospitalization, so it is not clear that the number of COVID patients admitted in the hospital will peak with respect to the cases , and compared to the previous record-high number of COVID patients.
While hospitalizations tend to be falling behind more cases than ever before in the pandemic, it is rising faster than ever, and this gap may not be enough to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed, especially amid shortage of staff.
Death, which typically occurs within 2–3 weeks, is estimated to result in further separation of the joints than hospitalization, but it is too early to see whether the wide gap will continue to widen, or shrink. Will be
Southern California has the worst in the state
Like many of California’s past booms, the hottest spots seem to be in Southern California’s most populous counties. The most recent data from Los Angeles shows a rate of more than 250 daily cases per 100,000 residents, up from just 159 a year ago compared to the previous peak.
Bay Area counties that survived last winter’s worst growth are now experiencing case rates that were higher than Los Angeles’ rates last winter, and case rates here are more than double the peak we saw. Experienced last year.