Most Vulnerable Residents Encouraged to Take Safety Measures as More Infectious BA.2 Subvariant Circulates in Los Angeles

Los Angeles–With widespread circulation of the BA.2 subvariant, residents most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19, including those who are not vaccinated, immunocompromised, have underlying health conditions, or have a lot of exposures to others at work or in the community, should take measures to reduce their risk.

Steps to reduce risk include getting fully vaccinated or boosted if eligible, wearing a medical mask or respirator such as an N95 or KN95 when in indoor public settings, and getting tested before and after gatherings.

Residents who have traveled or are traveling for Spring Break or are preparing for spring observances of Ramadan, Easter, and Passover should also take these measures to protect themselves and their families.

Currently, there about 2.6 million booster-dose eligible residents not benefiting from the extra protection of a booster dose and 1.7 million eligible residents still needing to get their first vaccination.

The vaccines remain highly effective at slowing COVID-19 spread and preventing severe illness. For the week ending March 18, county residents who were unvaccinated were two times more likely to be infected when compared to individuals who were fully vaccinated and boosted.

The vaccines also continue to provide very strong protection against hospitalization and death. For the week ending March 18, unvaccinated people were three times more likely to be hospitalized compared to fully vaccinated residents and six times more likely to be hospitalized than those fully vaccinated and boosted. And the likelihood of dying was also significantly higher – 11 times higher – for unvaccinated residents compared to residents who were fully vaccinated.