If what’s happening in Los Angeles County is any indication, SLO County is in for more trouble.
COVID-19 test positivity increased by 700% in one month. One month! Because of the Delta variant, which is more contagious than the variants we’ve seen pass through our state, L.A. County recorded thousands of new coronavirus cases that are primarily found in unvaccinated people. To curb the meteoric rise in cases, the county is now imposing mask mandate for indoors for vaccinated and unvaccinated residents.
And sure, our current numbers in SLO County pale in comparison. But consider the following.
Two weeks ago, we recorded 35 cases for an entire week. Not terrible. It’s rather expected. But last week, we saw 70 new cases in one week. That’s 200% test positivity in two weeks and we got two more weeks to go. And sure, we have a far smaller county population than L.A. But if we look at the current trajectory of cases in proportion to our population where only half of us are fully vaccinated (49.9% to be exact), then we’re looking at a big problem for unvaccinated residents. As our case positivity weekly moving average increases and our county hesitates to implement any restrictive measures — for understandable reasons since we all want to return to a semblance of normalcy — we could be ground zero for a massive increase in cases once again.
The Tribune recently wrote an editorial that not only urged SLO County residents to get vaccinated, but also dismissed some tactics some have deployed to get people vaccinated. Spoiler alert: Appealing to a sense of duty doesn’t work. Bribery doesn’t work. And shaming certainly doesn’t work.
So what does? Tribune cited Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Communication Scientist Rupali Limaye, who told Scientific American, “One thing that we’ve learned very clearly is not to correct misperceptions because people feel as though we are being dismissive.”
She encouraged people to say something like: “There’s a lot of information out there, and some of it is true, and some of it is not true. Let me tell you what I know.”
There are a few things that are problematic with that advice.