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Staying safe from COVID-19 this Holiday Season

Staying safe from COVID-19 this Holiday Season
December 29
14:40 2021

Vidya Sethuraman
India Post News Service

With COVID-19 cases rising again, California imposed a new mask mandate starting Dec 15 that will last until at least Jan. 15. The state’s top health official, Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said the mask order will apply to all public indoor places and to everyone, regardless of vaccination status.  On the one-year anniversary of the first vaccine dose administered in the state, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly for an update on the state’s vaccination milestones, Omicron and the best steps Californians can continue to take to keep themselves and their loved ones safer this holiday season. California also will require people at events with more than 1,000 attendees to provide proof of vaccination or submit a negative COVID-19 test.

Dr Ghaly said it has been a year since California began vaccinating the first dose of covid-19 vaccine, and although it has a suppressive effect on infected cases, the number of infected people is still increasing. The reason is that there are still a considerable number of communities that are still not fully vaccinated. To avoid another surge in infections this winter, the California state government began implementing an indoor mask enforcement order. The good news is that California currently administers more than 62 million doses of vaccines and more than 25 million people are fully vaccinated, more than 66.2 percent of the population. He said that full vaccination and booster vaccination, providing protection for vaccinators is recognized by experts, especially strengthening vaccination can greatly enhance immunity.

He said that there has been a lot of misinformation and rumors about the new omicron variant and the vaccine efficacy against it. It is believed that only by improving the level of education can we curtail the misinformation against the vaccine, variant and other factors related to the pandemic.  He stressed that there was insufficient evidence of negative effects in the vaccination of eligible adolescent groups

The state will also toughen the restriction for unvaccinated people who attend indoor “mega-events” of 1,000 people or more, requiring them to receive a negative COVID test within one day of the event if it’s a rapid antigen test or within two days for a PCR test. The current rules require a test within 72 hours of the event.  The state already technically requires mask wearing for unvaccinated people at indoor public facilities, but the new rule will impact everyone regardless of vaccine status. Ghaly said state officials also acted in hopes of avoiding the dramatic surge in cases experienced statewide last year during the winter holiday months.

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