California is now struggling through one of its worst waves as the state topped 6 million cases since the beginning of the pandemic, the most of any u.s state. This comes to the daily case, average lifted to nearly 60 thousand over the past eight weeks. According to data from state officials for more, let’s bring in ABC news, medical contributor, and uh board-certified emergency physician, dr Darian Sutton. Thanks very much for being here doctor, it’s good to see you again good to see you as well, and we count cases but there’s more to this story than the number of cases, and I want to ask you about this new study, which I’m sure you’ve seen Uh reviewing medical records of nearly 70 000 patients in California found that an omicron infection cut the risk of being hospitalized in half compared to the delta.
In other words, omicron is less severe. I tend to have shorter hospital stays as well, so with the CDC now estimating omicron to be responsible for about you know almost 100 percent of the new cases. What does this mean? You know it means what we’ve been seeing and it’s reflecting what we’ve been seeing around the world, specifically in the UK and in southern Africa. We have seen that this variant is associated with shorter hospital stays and a decreased probability of a patient requiring advanced care.
Like being placed on a ventilator, but it’s also likely a combination of the benefits and advancements and the treatment of covid19 as since covet 19 has come out and comparative to prior variants. We have gotten better at understanding the progression of the disease, we’ve gotten better in the treatments and obviously, we’ve gotten better at providing vaccinations to all of those who are eligible, and this is probably a combination. The results of these outcomes are probably a combination of these two or a couple of these factors got it so we’re doing a better job, and this is a slightly different uh variant of the virus. So in California, the state officials there are attempting to address staffing shortages uh through a sweeping policy change that, as I understand, allows asymptomatic healthcare workers. Who’Ve tested positive for coronavirus to return to work immediately without isolation or testing.
If one is still contagious. Even if one is asymptomatic is that a good idea, you know where i can feel what your sentiment is on this terry and we’re on the same page, we’re currently in a dire situation here in southern California, and these recommendations and adjustments speak to what critic, how Critical, this situation is uh patients. We don’t have room for patients to be placed once we admit them. We don’t have staff to take care of these patients uh. The volume of people that are coming in second to this current surge is just not sustainable for the hospital.
Anyone actively infected with covid19 poses an increased risk of transmitting that virus to those around them. And although someone who is asymptomatic and wearing an n95 mask, can decrease that risk of transmission, it does not bring that risk down to zero. So I’m hopeful that this recommendation is strictly for crisis standards which, unfortunately, we are in now. I’m hoping that this ends quickly, but if you’re listening and watching this and you’re trying to figure out how you can help you can help by, of course, getting vaccinated, making sure that you wear your mask, and trying to decrease transmission as much as possible. Because, like I said this amount of them, the volume of patients is just not sustainable and you’re living it right.
Now that this emergency situation, I want to ask about the denominator, the so-called denominator of coveting under omicron. Otherwise, you know one’s risk of getting hospitalized or having a bad result with coveting is sometimes expressed in percentages. But we don’t really know how many cases there are, because some of them are asymptomatic and preliminary findings from two south African clinical trials suggest that the omicron variant has a much higher rate of what they call asymptomatic carriage than earlier. What what is that yeah? So these two studies, they’re the primary goal of the two studies – actually was to look at the benefit of mRNA vaccines and patients who have well-treated HIV and they essentially care uh, basically created these data points to look at what the outcomes of covid-19 look like.
Now versus prior variants, they saw that there was an increased percentage in the number of patients who had an infection but had no symptoms at all, approximately 10 percent higher compared to last time. So what does this mean? It probably speaks to the fact, or adds to the reasoning behind why this variant is so much more transmissible simply from the fact that people are probably walking around unknowingly, transmitting it from one person to another, which is why surveillance testing is such a crucial part of Those mitigation efforts so that people know their status and act accordingly, all right! Well, dr Darian Sutton. We thank you for that and thank you for what you’re doing out there and we hope we hope things calm down when it comes to covert out in California.
Good luck! Thank you. So much terry me too. Thanks hi! Everyone George Stephanopoulos here thanks for checking out the ABC news youtube channel if you’d like to get more videos, show highlights, and watch live event coverage click on the right over here to subscribe to our channel, and don’t forget to download the ABC news app for breaking news alerts, thanks for watching