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Claremont Courier - A Local Nonprofit Newsroom

Cases soar among unvaccinated in county, 2,767 new cases Thursday

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com
The local outbreak of the coronavirus continues to grow at a staggering rate, with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reporting 2,767 new cases Thursday and 2,551 new infections Wednesday afternoon. This is a twenty fold increase in one month with 124 cases reported on June 21. It continues to be younger people driving the surge, with 83 percent of cases reported among people under 50, while nearly 100 percent of new infections are among the unvaccinated. Today’s positivity rate is 5.2 percent, up dramatically from 0.7 percent one month ago.
The county recorded seven new deaths, two people were between the ages of 65 and 79, three between 50 and 64, and one between the ages of 30 and 49.
Nationwide, 99 percent of the deaths and 97 percent of the hospitalizations are among the unvaccinated, according to data collected by the New York Times. President Biden said last Friday, “the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated.”
Following weeks of almost no new cases in Claremont, the county is now reporting 23 new infections for a cumulative total of 2,365. The number of deaths in Claremont was reduced by one last week to 59. As reported last week, the vaccination rate in Claremont has stalled at 64 percent of the eligible population according to data reported on July 16.
Still, it’s no longer December 2020 as two crucial statistics illustrate. First, 62 percent of county residents over age 16 are now fully vaccinated and nearly 70 percent have received at least one dose. More importantly, among the most vulnerable population, people over 65, a total of 78 percent are fully vaccinated and 88 percent have received one shot. County health officials estimate that at the current rate of new vaccinations, by January we will reach the 80 percent threshold. That data could change if the current surge inspires some to get the vaccine.
This week the Kaiser Family Foundation released a follow up report about Americans’ opinion of the vaccine, including two groups who had reported being vaccine hesitant or resistant. KFF recontacted the same people from their January survey to inquire whether their opinion about the inoculation had changed, and if so, why.
In January the foundation reported that 23 percent of respondents stated they would not get the shot, or would do it only if compelled to, while 28 percent said they wanted to wait and see how it worked out for other people. In their follow up, the researchers found about half of the “wait and see” group, and 24 percent of the “never” group have now received at least one shot.
The reasons previously vaccine-resistant people gave for changing their minds centered on three common themes. First, seeing millions of others getting the shot with few serious side effects. Second, hearing positive vaccination messages from medical professionals or friends. Third, the possibility that remaining unvaccinated will limit their ability to do things they want, like visiting family.

Sample quotes from those who wanted to “wait and see” back in January but changed their mind included the following:
“Almost all of my friends were vaccinated with no side effects.” — 64-year-old Black Democrat woman in Tennessee.
“I was told by my doctor that she strongly recommend I get the vaccine because I have diabetes.” — 47-year-old white Republican woman in Florida.
Among those who were in the definitely not camp reasons for getting the shot included:
“Friends and family talked me into it, as did my place of employment.” — 28-year-old, white, independent man in Virginia.
“My husband bugged me to get it and I gave in.” —a 42-year-old white Republican woman in Indiana.

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