San Diego County COVID-19 Deaths

‘Don't Let Your Guard Down': Falling COVID-19 Cases Doesn't Signal End of Pandemic

A word of caution in the wake of flattening COVID-19 case rates in San Diego County

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NBC 7’s Rory Devine spoke to a mother who lost a son to COVID-19, and heard from a doctor about current vaccination numbers.

A look at the COVID-19 case rate in San Diego County reported this week gives us hope, but also reason to continue to be cautious. 

"We have seen a decline in cases in general and hospitalizations," said Doctor Abbe Olulade from Sharp Hospital. "But it's not a reason to let our guard down, it is a reason to hope, but unfortunately, we may see it go up again." 

According to the latest numbers from the county, the average daily cases per 100,000 have steadily dropped in the last six weeks, by more than half.  Hospitalizations are falling too, and that includes cases of those needing to go to the ICU, from 151 ICU cases in late September to 87 ICU cases by mid-October.  

In terms of the vaccination rate in the county, 89.7 % of eligible residents have received one shot, and 80.5% are fully vaccinated.

“The threshold of herd immunity has most likely changed again because you have a virus that has upped the ante in a bad way. It’s more contagious and has the potential to be able to cause more severe cases,” said Doctor Olulade, explaining why the county has not achieved its immunity.

Even with the positive news with the case rate, deaths are holding steady, only slightly decreasing. 

The county says deaths are a lagging indicator and it is not unusual to see this “kind of dynamic.”  The numbers though continue to show unvaccinated people are more at risk of dying from COVID-19. 

“The chances of someone ending up in the hospital that is unvaccinated is way higher that if they’re vaccinated, and it’s not even close,” said Doctor Olulade.  “It’s an exponential increase.”

Get vaccinated and don’t let your guard down, even if you have, or are getting a booster

Doctor Olulade

Her message: "Get vaccinated and don’t let your guard down, even if you have, or are getting a booster."  

“We’re definitely not out of the woods yet, and many times we’ve made the mistake of thinking that we are, and the virus comes back to remind us we’re not.”