Omicron variant in California: Bay Area slips back to higher levels of transmission risk - San Francisco Chronicle
Dec 08, 2021 3 mins, 51 secs
New Providence Baptist Church Senior Pastor Michael Gilmore receives his COVID-19 vaccine booster shot at a pop-up vaccine booster clinic at New Providence Baptist Church in the Ingleside neighborhood of San Francisco, Calif.

The omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in wastewater samples in areas of Sacramento and Merced counties, but public health officials emphasized that the delta variant continues to pose the biggest immediate threat.

The omicron variant may have emerged with so many mutations because it was cultivated in an immune-compromised person, possibly someone with untreated HIV.

Marin County’s COVID-19 case rates have more than doubled in the last 10 days, but the county is not seeing a rise in hospitalizations or deaths.

With much still to be learned about the highly mutated and fast-spreading omicron variant, questions are growing about whether increased protection is needed — against both indoor and outdoor transmission.

Marin parents could face criminal charges for sending sick kid to school: Marin County health officials have asked prosecutors to determine whether parents who knowingly sent their child to class with a coronavirus infection — a decision that led to an outbreak at the child’s public elementary school — should face criminal charges.

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Marin County Public Heath Department said “the case has been referred to law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office for review and action for failure to comply” with county health orders.

signals alarm over omicron, goes back into partial lockdown: Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a set of new restrictions on Wednesday, citing the rapid spread of the omicron variant in the county.

Bay Area counties slip back to ‘substantial’ and ‘high’ transmission tiers: After starting the week with eight of the nine regional counties in the yellow “moderate” tier of coronavirus transmission risk on the CDC’s color-coded map, all Bay Area counties are now back in the orange “substantial” tier for community spread.

Marin County is the exception, falling into the worst red or “high” tier for transmission, despite its high levels of vaccination.

Getting a COVID-19 vaccine in the afternoon appears to prompt a stronger immune response: A study from Massachusetts General Hospital that tracked the effectiveness of vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus among 2,784 British health care workers has found that those who got Pfizer-BioNTech or Astrazeneca shots after 3 p.m.

Risk of reinfection appears greater with omicron: Data from South Africa shows there is an increased risk of COVID-19 re-infection with the omicron coronavirus variant, the director of the World Health Organization said at a Wednesday briefing.

‘Please do have the jab’: First person to receive an authorized vaccine one year ago urges people to get vaccinated: Margaret Keenan, the British woman who became the first person to receive an authorized COVID-19 vaccine on Dec.

Pfizer, BioNTech say their vaccine offers significant protection against omicron variant: Summarizing laboratory findings, the drugmakers said Wednesday that three doses of their vaccine offered significant protection against the omicron variant.

How a Stanford COVID case illustrates the possible connection between omicron and HIV: A prevailing theory as to how the omicron variant emerged so suddenly and jam-packed with mutations is that it was cultivated in an immune-compromised person — possibly someone with untreated HIV — with an extended coronavirus infection.

Omicron variant found in wastewater in two Northern California counties: The omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in wastewater samples in areas of Sacramento and Merced counties, but public health officials emphasized that the delta variant continues to pose the biggest immediate threat.

Pfizer shots not as strong against omicron as against other strains: The COVID vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech was found to provide less immunity to the omicron variant than to other major coronavirus strains in laboratory experiments that indicate a booster may still help stop omicron, Bloomberg reports.

Here’s why the mask mandate isn’t coming back: Marin County’s COVID-19 case rates are now the highest in the Bay Area.

Bob Wachter, chair of the department of medicine at UCSF, tweeted on Tuesday that even as he hoped that the omicron variant will be less severe than the delta strain of the coronavirus — as preliminary data may indicate — “if Omicron is somewhat less severe but far more transmissible, that’ll still be nasty.” Wachter also noted that the delta variant “remains the major threat & it’s killing >1000 in U.S./day.”

Although Bay Area counties so far have not signaled any changes in their mask policies, the arrival of the omicron variant has many people wondering whether it’s time to double down on their masking habits — and upgrade their face coverings


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