Peninsula Health Care District physicians warn public to beware of rising COVID-related hospitalizations and deaths this winter

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — While monkeypox is a major health issue that is catching the attention of the public and health officials, a group of Bay Area doctors say they are warning people not to forget the threat that COVID-19 continues to represent.

They say hospitalization and death rates will only increase as we get closer to winter.

The world has come a long way since the early days of the pandemic, when little was known about COVID-19 and when vaccines were a remote possibility.

But local doctors in Peninsula Health Care District afraid that we were getting too comfortable.

“Part of what we’ve been told is, ‘COVID is mild now, so it doesn’t matter. People aren’t hospitalized, so it’s good to go ahead and get it, “and that’s wrong,” Dr. Kim Rhoads said. Rhoads works as an associate professor at the UCSF School of Medicine, but said at Thursday’s press conference that she spoke as a community organizer.

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She says any message that more COVID treatment makes it less dangerous is wrong.

On ABC’s “The View” on Thursday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre highlighted the progress made since the start of the pandemic and since President Joe took office. Biden.

“Right now you can get a vaccine. You can get boosters,” she said during the segment, “You can get the treatment — the same treatment the president had, which is paxlovid. “

However, says Rhoads, locally it’s not that simple.

“As a prescriber, I just want to say that on the first prescription for paxlovid that I had to fill, I had to call three different pharmacies,” Rhoads said, “It was tough for me. how hard it would be for the person who actually needs paxlovid.”

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PHCD doctors say that throughout the summer many of us have become accustomed to being without a mask mandate.

But with BA.5 and the possibility of other variants emerging, they say we are preparing for a dangerous winter.

“We’re all going to be inside. It’s going to be cold. You’re not going to want to open any windows or doors. We’re all going to get together for the holidays and that’s when it’s going to go out control,” Rhoads said, “Will it be a resistant variant to our vaccines? Cause more disability? We don’t even know.

PHCD doctors also say they think mask mandates won’t be effective because public health officials implement them, but can’t enforce them.

They say that right now, better government messaging and education on proper masking will be key to keeping communities safe.

“Know that BA.5 doesn’t care if you’re wearing a cloth mask or a surgical mask,” Rhoads said, “You have to wear a KN95, KF94, or N95.”

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