COVID-19 cases on the rise in the Bay Area; Expert warns it's not the only holiday season threat

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Monday, December 5, 2022
COVID-19 cases rising in Bay Area; Expert warns of other threats
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COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the Bay Area. A UCSF expert warns that it's not the only holiday season threat.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Across California, COVID-19 cases are on the rise. Los Angeles County hospitals are on the brink, with a mask mandate looming. In San Francisco, hospitalizations have nearly doubled since October.

"Right now we have three pathogens that are really circulating: RSV, influenza, and COVID," said Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious diseases expert at UCSF.

Gandhi said while hospitalizations are up, the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU is down.

"Importantly, those who are vaccinated and boosted against COVID, we're not seeing the severe disease," said Gandhi, noting the greatest threat this holiday season is the flu, with just 50% of those eligible vaccinated against it.

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"I want people to please get that influenza vaccine, because I think that will really influence what happens over the Christmas season," said Gandhi, noting it's important people take all the precautions while traveling and gathering.

"Stay home when you're sick. Wash your hands. Do this kind of hygiene when you're coughing, coughing into your elbow," said Gandhi, adding that masking still matters. "There are certain types of masks that are fit and filtered. These are N-95's KN-95's KF-94's that really protect us against pathogens when we're in indoor crowded spaces."

"Any chance that I'm going to be inside a building with a high volume of people, I'll mask up," said Oakland resident Kate Woodward.

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Her friend Gordon Inouye is visiting from Hawaii and said he's comfortable flying.

"I'm generally okay with it as long as I have a mask and try to keep my distance from other people," Inouye said.

Gandhi once again urged the elderly to get the flu shot -- a double dose.

"If you're over 65, please get the higher dose of the influenza shot. They do look like they match our strains, and they are working," she said.

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