King County Health Officer Dr. Jeff Duchin held a media briefing on October 13, 2022, to share information and take questions about COVID-19, updated boosters for adults and children, and the local monkeypox outbreak.
A transcript of the briefing is now available, and the video of the briefing is below.
Dr. Duchin discussed predictions for COVID-19 for the fall and winter, emphasizing the importance of vaccination combined with layered prevention measures:
We’re seeing significant numbers of cases and hospitalizations in multiple countries in Europe, even before a new variant has entered the picture… This should be a clear warning for us, because in the past, major surges in Europe have been a good predictor of what we can expect to see in the U.S. in about 4 to 6 weeks.
With waning immunity from past infection and vaccination, with increasing activity in indoor gatherings in the fall and winter, with people returning to their pre-COVID lifestyles, with a bucket full of worrisome new variants on the horizon, and with low booster rates – including among our older adults – we remain vulnerable to what could be a significant fall and winter surge. There’s a real possibility we are now in what will turn out to be the lull before the storm. Even current levels of COVID-19, in combination with the return of a typical moderate or severe flu or respiratory virus season, would lead to severe stress on our health care systems, with consequences for anyone needing to access health care for any reason. When our health care system is stressed, it hurts all of us.
Vaccines are the foundation for individual and community protection from COVID 19. The single most important step we can take to protect ourselves and our community is to get vaccinated. If you’re not vaccinated or if you’ve been vaccinated in your last dose with two or more months ago, get an updated booster soon. But it’s also important to know that vaccines alone are not sufficient. We need a vaccines plus strategy with attention to improving indoor air flow, improvements in ventilation, filtration and UV technology.Health officer Dr. jeff duchin
Originally published October 13, 2022.