While not anywhere close to the amount of cases experienced by San Diegans at the height of the pandemic, the number of positive daily coronavirus tests reported in the county is still worrisome.
On July 16, San Diego County health officials reported that 501 local residents had coronavirus cases confirmed by testing.
On July 17, that number fell to 467, and on Sunday, it was down to 439. In the past, there was typically a lag over the weekend as officials worked to aggregate the results from all the sites performing the tests. Monday's combined totals are expected to be released on Tuesday.
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At the peak of the pandemic, from December last year to January 2021, the number of confirmed daily cases was in the thousands, at one point in January surpassing 5,000 cases in a single day.
As the vaccine arrived and began to be distributed, however, those terrifying totals plunged, falling into the hundreds by February, and then, in May and June, double digits. The day before California's official statewide reopening on June 15, in fact, just 46 cases were reported in San Diego County.
Silently circulating within the population at that same time. though, were the region's first cases of people infected with the more contagious delta variant, which the World Health Organization warned was the "fastest and fittest strain yet." By June 21, local health officials had confirmed four documented cases of the strain.
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At that time, the delta variant, first identified in India, accounted for as much as 10% percent of U.S. cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That number has now ballooned, however. As of last week, there were reports that as many as 58% of cases in the U.S. could be blamed on the strain. On Sunday, the U.S. surgeon general said he was concerned about what lies ahead with cases of COVID-19 increasing in every state, millions still unvaccinated and the contagious virus variant spreading rapidly.
Dr. Vivek Murthy also noted on Sunday that nearly all coronavirus deaths now are among the tens of millions of people who haven't received shots. Murthy urged people to vaccinate: About 186 million Americans have received at least one shot, but another 90 million eligible Americans haven't.
“It is our fastest, most effective way out of this pandemic,” he said.
As of Monday, 287,694 San Diegans had been sickened by the coronavirus since the beginning of the pandemic in San Diego in February 2020. One point three percent of those cases, 3,786, were fatal to those who caught it.
The Associated Press contributed to this report -- Ed.