As California COVID-19 rates surge, should you get the updated COVID-19 vaccine? (2024)

The California Department of Public Health reports a summer surge of COVID-19 infection in the state.

Week over week results in late June show emergency roomvisits in California rose by around 23% from the week before, with atest positivity rateincreasing to 8%, the highest for this time of year since summer 2022. Death rates have also gone up 14% from previous weeks.

Since the start of the pandemic, 107,973 Californians havedied of COVID-19. From October 2023 to June, 3,654 people have died from COVID.

However, Dr. John Swartzberg, a clinical professor emeritus at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, told the Mercury News that this year's summer surge is so far lower than the uptick of 2023 COVID-19 infections in California.

“It’s nothing approaching the winter; it’s not even as high as it was a year ago,” he said.

Another good data point? Deaths reached record lows in California this spring, includingthe first day in over four years with no COVID deaths in the state, according to reporting by KFF Health News.

Are COVID-19 rates rising across the country this summer?

As cases of COVID-19 are on the rise with a new variant of the disease emerging this summer across the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending updated vaccines ahead of the fall and winter virus season.

"Make a plan now for you and your family to get both updated flu and COVID vaccines this fall, ahead of the respiratory virus season," CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a statement Thursday.

The CDC is tracking the growth of multiple variants of COVID-19, including the KP.3 frontrunner and the rising LB.1, the newest variant circulating in the U.S. There was a 1.4% increase in test positivity as of June 22, according to data collected by the agency.

Here's what to know about COVID-19 in California and the U.S., and the CDC's latest vaccine guidance.

COVID-19 cases increasing this summer:Insight into the uptick

Should you get the updated COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC recommends for everyone ages 6 months and older, with some exceptions, receive an updated 2024-25 COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the disease, regardless whether or not you have previously been vaccinated against the virus.

As California COVID-19 rates surge, should you get the updated COVID-19 vaccine? (1)

Should you get the updated flu vaccine?

The agency also recommends the updated 2024-205 flu vaccines.

Most people only need one dose of flu vaccine each season, and September and October remain the best times for most people to be vaccinated.

Can you get the COVID and flu vaccine at the same time?

The CDC says it is safe to receive both the COVID-19 and the flu vaccines at the same visit.

What are the current COVID variants?

For a two-week period starting on June 9 and ending on June 22, the CDC's Nowcast data trackershowed the projections of COVID-19 variants, with the KP.3 variant accounting for 33.1% of positive infections, the KP.2 variant at 20.8% and the new variant LB.1 at 17.5% of infections.

The JN.1 variant accounted for only 1.6% of positive infections, according to the data.

What is the LB.1 variant?

The LB.1 variant is the newest COVID-19 variant that is circulating in the United States.

With the information that the CDC has available right now, there’s no indication that the LB.1 variant poses a serious risk.

“There is currently no evidence that LB.1 causes more severe disease," CDC Spokesperson, Dave Daigle, previously told USA TODAY.

What are the current symptoms of COVID-19?

There are a wide range of symptoms that could point to a COVID-19 infection, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

The CDC said you should seek medical attention if you have the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds

How do COVID and flu symptoms compare?

The flu and COVID-19 share some of the same signs, but flu symptoms will come on suddenly, the CDC says. People who have the flu often feel some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

Some people may have vomiting or diarrhea, although the CDC says this is more common in children than in adults.

What is the CDC's recommended isolation period for COVID-19?

The CDC's updated respiratory virus guidance recommends that people stay home and away from others until at least 24 hours after there is no fever and their symptoms are getting better overall. This is a change from the previous guidance, which recommended a minimum isolation period of five days for COVID-19.

Instead, the CDC urges an added precaution over the next five days and using prevention strategies, including:

  • Taking steps for cleaner air
  • Enhancing hygiene practices
  • Wearing a well-fitting mask
  • Keeping distance from others
  • Getting tested for respiratory viruses

Contributing: James Ward, Palm Springs Desert Sun

As California COVID-19 rates surge, should you get the updated COVID-19 vaccine? (2024)
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