California, with strict mandates, has more COVID cases than Florida, Texas, here’s why
California’s daily COVID cases appear to be higher than those in Texas or Florida, although the Golden State has had a generally stricter approach to controlling the pandemic.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) As of November 9, California had a seven-day moving average of 6,297 COVID cases, compared to 3,102 in Texas and 1,470 in Florida.
California has taken a proactive approach to the pandemic, having been the first state to announce plans for vaccine requirements for school students in October, having already put in place masking and vaccine requirements for them. teachers.
Similar restrictions have proved controversial in Florida, where the school board has been punish schools that have mask mandates, and Texas, where the governor Greg Abbott recently had a mask warrant ban reversed.
California also has a higher proportion of its population vaccinated (62%) compared to Texas (54%) or Florida (60%), according to The New York Times.
If this seems difficult to explain, it’s because it is, according to Jennifer Dowd, associate professor of demography and population health in the department of sociology at the University of Oxford.
“We must remain humble and admit that we cannot explain everything or predict everything about this pandemic,” she said. News week. “Regionally, entire swathes of the United States that were on fire this summer with Delta are in decline while areas that were on hold are now on the rise. This regional pattern of relapses has reoccurred over and over again, and neither seasonality nor other measurable factors explain it well.
“Comparing snapshots over time in different places and trying to correlate them with specific metrics such as vaccination rates or the use of masks is futile. People on both sides of the COVID aisle seem to like these moments of “embarrassment” comparing current cases in different places, but this is generally misleading or just plain wrong. “
There are so many factors at play, including a decline in vaccine protection over time. If many people were vaccinated early in California compared to others, it could mean a greater drop in immunity.
Age distribution and how cases are reported also play a role, which means it’s very difficult to pit states against each other, said Rowland Kao, president of veterinary epidemiology and animal science. data at the University of Edinburgh.
But while it may not be possible to explain the current numbers for sure, a potential possibility is that Florida and Texas both had major epidemics These last months.
“For Florida, a very rough calculation implies that well over 10% of the population has been infected in the past few months alone,” said Nicholas Reich, professor of biostatistics at the University of Massachusetts, department of biostatistics and d Amherst epidemiology. “California, on the other hand, has not had more than 200 infections per 100,000 since early February 2021.
“So there is much more recently acquired immunity associated with infections in the populations of Florida and Texas than in California. This could provide at least a temporary buffer against a late fall wave in these places. “
Srini Venkatramanan, assistant research professor at the University of Virginia Institute and Biocomplexity Initiative, agreed. He said the cases must be interpreted against the backdrop of the Delta wave that hit the United States over the summer and affected some states more than others.
“While Florida and, to a lesser extent, Texas had high case rates during the Delta Wave, in California they were flatter,” he said. “So while the current rates in Florida and Texas are slightly lower than in California, they are coming down from much higher levels.”
Indeed, natural immunity is something put forward by Kao. He pointed out that Florida, with its total of around 3.6 million COVID cases and a population of 21 million, has a higher number of cases per population than California, with 5 million cases in total out of a population of 40 million.
“And again, it also depends on when people got infected. Florida [has] many more cases relatively recently, therefore more protective immunity. “
But as Dowd pointed out, comparing cases is a difficult way to assess the pandemic and should be taken with a grain of salt.
COVID vaccines have been shown to reduce infection and the serious health problems the virus can cause, including hospitalization and death.
A recent study suggested that unvaccinated people in Texas were much more likely to die with COVID than those vaccinated.