California’s battle against coronavirus has progressed so rapidly in the last few months that many experts are optimistic the state has experienced the worst of the pandemic and that another disastrous wave is unlikely as vaccinations increase and case rates keep plunging.
If those forecasts hold fast, California will enter the summer in a better place than many thought. State officials hope to have the economy largely reopened by June 15. And while coronavirus variants caused concerns earlier this year, officials and experts say they have generally been less aggressive than feared and vaccines seem to be offering protection against the various variants.
“I am optimistic,” said Dr. Robert Kim-Farley, medical epidemiologist and infectious diseases expert at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. “I think that we are going in the right direction — we will never have a surge like we had during the viral tsunami of the post-holiday season, just because now we have so many people vaccinated, and so many people have got natural immunity from having had the disease.”
On Monday, officials said Los Angeles County could reach “herd immunity” from the coronavirus by mid- to late July. Herd immunity, sometimes referred to as community immunity, occurs when enough people have been inoculated or have obtained natural immunity to protect the larger population against the virus.
With about 400,000 shots administered weekly, the county has about 2 million first doses to go before 80% of all residents 16 and older will have received at least one shot, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said in a news briefing.