Will most Utahns end up getting COVID-19?

Tristin Torkelson, an EMT with Salt Lake County, gives Raymundo Altamirano a COVID-19 vaccination at a Salt Lake County Health Department mobile site at Tejeda’s Market in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021.

Tristin Torkelson, an EMT with Salt Lake County, gives Raymundo Altamirano a COVID-19 vaccination at a Salt Lake County Health Department mobile site at Tejeda’s Market in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Yes, many Utahns already are getting COVID-19 even if they’re vaccinated and boosted against the virus, thanks to the incredibly transmissible omicron variant surging through the state and sending Thursday’s cases soaring to nearly 13,000.

But no, health experts say, that doesn’t mean Utahns should give up protecting themselves and others from COVID-19 by staying up-to-date on their shots, wearing masks and avoiding crowds — even if most people likely will eventually contract the virus.

“Our advice is for people to take actions, like getting vaccinated and boosted or wearing masks in public places, to prevent themselves from getting COVID-19,” Utah Department of Health spokesman Tom Hudachko said, although the agency doesn’t have a position on whether most Utahns will be infected with omicron.

Earlier this week, though, Biden administration officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, said most people will get the virus.

“Virtually everybody is going to wind up getting exposed and likely get infected. But if you’re vaccinated and if you’re boosted, the chances of you getting sick are very, very low,” Fauci said during a White House news conference Wednesday,

Han Kim, a professor of public health at Westminster College in Salt Lake City, agreed.

“Eventually, most of us will end up getting omicron because it’s so infectious, even if we do all of the right things,” Kim said, adding someone with omicron is expected to infect 10 other people, making it “one of the infectious airborne diseases that we know of,” nearly as contagious as measles.

  Why this legislator has the sales tax on food in her sights

At the same time, he said omicron appears to be milder than previous variants, so those infected “are more likely to go about their daily business even though they’re shedding virus, either because they’re asymptomatic or they have such mild disease, combined with the fact we have basically very little mitigation.”

The state’s health care systems are being overwhelmed with omicron cases, since the sheer numbers of infections may translate into just as many if not more hospitalizations and possibly deaths as in previous surges of more virulent variants like delta. The virus first showed up in Utah about six weeks ago.

So while some might see omicron as a sign that it’s time to let down their guard and suffer through a bout of omicron to speed up an end to the pandemic, the professor warned that’s a bad idea. Not only are hospitals struggling, COVID-19 treatments like monoclonal antibodies are so scarce, they’re being rationed.

“This is a tricky message to send out because here’s the thing. If everybody does relax and go out there, yeah, we’re going to start peaking, peaking, peaking,” Kim said, but at a big cost to the level of health care that can be provided.

He said the possibility of hospitals …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

      

(Visited 4 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *