It’s hard to believe, but this time last year, San Diego was on the cusp of receiving its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines.
But are vaccinations and boosters enough to ensure a safe holiday season this year?
“Vaccination plus behavioral changes is the winning combination to safely get through the holidays,” said UC San Diego epidemiologist Andrea LaCroix.
She broke down how this year’s holidays are expected to compare with the COVID-hampered 2020 season.
In October last year, state guidelines allowed for private outdoor gatherings of up to three households. Gatherings were recommended to be two hours or less, with everyone wearing face coverings and participants staying at least six feet from people not in their household. Those in high-risk groups, such as older adults and people with chronic medical conditions, were urged not to attend gatherings.
A month later, San Diego County fell into the most restrictive purple tier of the state’s coronavirus risk framework after two weeks of case numbers higher than seven per 100,000 residents.
Three weeks after that, a state order expanded COVID-related restrictions, mandating closure of all onsite restaurant dining, museums, aquariums, playgrounds and salons throughout Southern California.
Then in late December, UC San Diego received shipments of Moderna’s and Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccines.
In December 2020, the rolling average percentage of positive cases among tests countywide jumped from 6.2 percent at the beginning of the month to 11.2 percent by the end of the month. The average stayed above 10 percent until late January 2021.
Comparatively, the rolling average in November this year stayed in the 2 percent range, peaking at 2.9 percent.