Officials Lay Into ‘Selfish’ Unvaccinated as the Delta Variant Fuels a Spike

As L.A. County sees five consecutive days of 1,000-plus cases, local leaders are stressing that getting jabbed will put a damper on the Delta variant

With Los Angeles County recording more than 1,000 new cases of the coronavirus each day for five days straight, health officials say the spike is due almost exclusively to people who still haven’t gotten jabbed. L.A. County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, for one, is sick of it.

“It just strikes me as enormously selfish,” she said Tuesday, according to the Los Angeles Times. “We can’t rely on herd immunity if the herd won’t get their shots.”

Kuehl added that she hopes those who remain unvaccinated “understand the impact that they have, not only on their communities and their families but on other people in their communities.”

Coming just under a month after L.A. County reopened, the numbers for the week ending Monday show that infections have risen by 250 percent from just two weeks before. The county Department of Public Health reported 1,044 new cases on Friday; 1,069 on Saturday; 1,113 Sunday; 1,059 Monday; and 1,103 new cases on Tuesday.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer stressed that it didn’t have to be this way.

“Over 99 percent of the COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths we are seeing are among unvaccinated individuals,” she said in a statement Monday. “The COVID-19 vaccines are the most effective and important tool to reduce COVID-19 transmission and the spread of variants like the highly transmissible Delta variant. Getting fully vaccinated is the way we protect you, your family, and our community from COVID-19 and the Delta variant.”

Additionally, Ferrer noted that, as of Monday, nearly 87 percent of newly infected people were under the age of 50.

The mutant Delta strain is rapidly becoming the prevalent form of the infection in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that it accounted for 10 percent of new cases for the period ending June 5, and had grown to nearly 52 percent a month later.

“Breakthrough” cases, in which fully vaccinated people become infected, are still exceedingly rare, however. In L.A. County, the Department of Public Health says that just 2,822 of 4.6 million fully vaccinated individuals have tested positive, or about 0.06 percent, as of July 8. A total of 195 people, or 0.004 percent, of the fully vaccinated were hospitalized, and 21 vaccinated people—0.0004 percent—have died from the infection.

Statewide, the California Department of Public Health has recorded 10,430 post-vaccination cases among 20.4 million fully vaccinated people, or 0.051 percent, as of July 9.

“It’s clear that the threat of COVID-19 is still with us and that we are dealing with a more infectious variant that causes it,” county Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis told the Times. “The best collective action that each of us can take is to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you’re eligible, and to take sensible precautions if you are not eligible or choose not to get vaccinated.”

It’s unclear what, if any, effect the rise of infections will have on L.A.’s reopening. The County Department of Public Health did not respond to a request for further information.

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