California is leading the nation with the lowest rate of COVID-19 transmission, rated “substantial,” while every other state is in the high category.
WIth the rate at 3%, down from 7% just a week ago, the end of mask mandates could be near for some areas.
Los Angeles and San Francisco already qualify by some CDC guidelines.
“Here in San Francisco we are down to low rates of transmission by one of their metrics, the test positivity rate must be less than 5%. We are at 2.3%,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi of UCSF. “So it’s going to be up to health officials here but yes, by CDC guidelines we could lift indoor masks here in San Francisco.”
But some do not expect mask requirements to be lifted soon, certainly not for most places in the state.
“I suspect we will get advice to wear a mask or actual requirements to wear masks for a while, until November or December and then back off at that point in time,” said Dr. George Rutherford of UCSF.
That will put us into flu season, but it’s believed the combination of immunity by vaccine and by those who’ve had COVID, may be enough to prevent another surge.
And there may soon be another tool to help prevent any surges. Molnupiravir - an antiviral oral medication to treat COVID at the first sign of symptoms. Phase 3 trial results are expected next week.
“If that looks like it is favorable and reduces symptoms in outpatient settings, we are going to have an antiviral by the time winter rolls around,” said Gandhi.