Dr. Joe Gerald’s Weekly Epidemiology & Hospital Occupancy Report

From Dr. Gerald:

“Bad news continues to compound. Cases, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to increase locally. Interestingly, our current case rates our identical to those of the same calendar week last year. While transmission is expected to rise for the remainder of the holidays, let’s hope it is not as brisk as last year. In a small glimmer of good news, transmission is shifted just a bit towards children and away from adults. Also, influenza cases in Arizona trail historical averages, so no evidence of a ‘twindemic’ yet.

Unfortunately, the WHO named another Variant of Concern this week, the Omicron variant. Identified by South African authorities it has multiple mutations to its spike and domain binding proteins which gives rise to concerns about increased transmissibility and immune escape. 

Currently, there is not enough information to understand what impact it is going to have on the pandemic’s trajectory. Anyway, we’ve got our hands full in Arizona with the Delta variant. What’s needed hasn’t changed a bit: get vaccinated, get tested, wear a mask, and avoid high risk exposures (e.g., prolonged indoor exposure where others aren’t masked). I’ve upgraded from cloth to KN-95’s myself and got my third shot booster! Hopefully, others will do the same.”

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