SAN JOSE (KPIX) — As the state’s indoor mask mandate for fully vaccinated reaches an end, health experts are reminding Californians that cases remain high.
Stanford Infectious Disease Dr. Abraar Karan cautioned that removing masks right now is a “risky game” and “experiment” on whether the easing of the health measure could cause another surge in cases.
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“Personally, I think it’s a little bit early,” Karan said. “Taking masks off like this may very well lead to an uptick in cases again. I’m concerned about the date that was picked. I’ve encouraged people, who are public health experts, really should not be focusing on the dates — they should be focusing on the data.”
On Tuesday, the state’s positivity rate stood at 5.7%, which is slightly lower than the peak of last winter’s deadly surge despite the difference this year in access to vaccines.
Karan said it’s possible California may not see another surge after the indoor mask mandate expires Wednesday. However, he said that would likely be because more people than once thought contracted COVID-19 and have a boost in immunity.
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Meanwhile, while some government leaders are planning the reopening of the economy, others are focused on helping those in the community impacted by the virus forever, including children who lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19.
During their regularly scheduled meeting, Santa Clara County supervisors discussed what they have named the “Children’s Roadmap to Recovery.”
Supervisor Cindy Chavez said an estimated 1 in 450 children have lost a parent to the virus. It’s important, she said, for the youth to have services such as grief counseling, behavioral services and wellness centers on school grounds. The recovery plan would be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, which is an emergency fund from Congress.
Chavez said, what’s more, is that an estimated 7,000 kids in the county lost childcare because of the pandemic when 12% of providers left for more affordable cities or other reasons. County leaders are now focused on rebuilding the area’s childcare infrastructure to send parents back to the workforce and boost the economy.
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“That particular segment of the business community has just collapsed,” Chavez said. “We had so many people who dropped out of the workforce because they had no way to care for their children. I think what’s particularly heartbreaking about it is, as the world opens up, for some the road home is not clear because they don’t have that parent anymore or that caregiver.”