The Bay Area’s summer COVID surge has peaked, but risks still remain

Coronavirus case rates and test positivity are steadily declining in California and the Bay Area, indicating the region is finally on the downside of this summer’s record COVID-19 surge fueled by successive waves of subvariants of omicron.

But even if the worst is behind us, the amount of virus in the community is still much higher than it was in April before the surge, and hospitalizations, a lagging indicator of infection rates, remain high.

Health officials warn against complacency and the possibility of new, immunoevasive versions of the virus that could prolong the pandemic into the fall. They recommend that people stay on guard against infection or re-infection through vaccination, boosters, and voluntary indoor masking.

“We’re in a good place, for sure, but we can’t ignore the virus,” said Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease specialist at UCSF. “Things can get unpredictable.”

Although the peak of cases occurred several weeks ago, the continuous oscillations in the reported figures made it impossible until now to be sure of the downward trend.

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