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COVID Cases Rise as Winter Approaches

COVID numbers in San Francisco and in California are going up. This is expected by health experts as we approach the winter months.

But is it rising to a level where people should change their plans from doing things like going out to eat? Several people spoke to NBC Bay Area Friday and gave their thoughts.

“I’m feeling OK. I’m feeling much more comfortable than what I was last year,” said Oakland resident Shericka Love.

“We definitely kind of strategize having a toddler and we’re gonna eat outside, we got takeout, and eat outside,” said Louis Basel of Berkeley.

Chair of UCSF Department of Medicine Bob Wachter tweeted Friday that he was not dining indoors until the numbers go down.

USCF infectious Disease Specialist Peter Chin-Hong broke down those numbers more.

“So about 1 in 40 right now with no symptoms end up being positive on the test which means that you’re going to a crowded Safeway or Traders Joe’s about 1 in 40 or 50 people have COVID with no symptoms,” he said.

Compare that to the summer, when Chin-Hong said that number was 1 in 15 people.

UCSF has four levels of how alert the system needs to be with one being the lowest. Level one is exactly where it is, which is why Dr. Chin-Hong and other experts say there’s no need to panic. But it might be time to go back to some old habits.

“I think if you’re in a crowded area and you’re not actively eating and drinking it’s still a good idea in some situations to think about wearing a mask,” said Dr. Yvonne Maldanado with Stanford School of Medicine.

Experts are more concerned about how little people are getting bivalent boosters, a vaccine that provides protection against the original strain and the omicron variant.

Only 13% of Californians have it right now.

“There’s different numbers around the Bay Area but they’re certainly not high,” said Maldanado.

It’s not high with vaccine immune responses only good for about three to six months.

To be clear, doctors said we’re not nearly in for the winter we were last year. But as we all know there are various diseases going around like the flu or RSV which is dangerous for kids.

Health experts recommend the public to get vaccinated, so they can reduce their risk or level of infection when they are out.

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