COVID-19 Variant In Oregon Spreading Faster Than In All But One State

Oregon Governor Kate Brown had a plan to keep coronavirus variants from spreading in her state. Unfortunately, she didn’t stick to it, and now COVID-19 is currently spreading faster in Oregon than in all but one other state, says one group of experts. Some 12% of cases in Oregon are from California variants that are estimated to be 20% more contagious than the original coronavirus.

For two months, experts had warned that vaccinations are in a race against variants. As of April 12, according to mathematical modeling by a team of Harvard, Yale, and Stanford medical experts, the reproduction rate in Oregon is 1.39, meaning every 100 infected Oregonians are infecting an average of 139 others. Any rate above 1.0 means the number of cases is growing.

COVID-19 Coronavirus molecule, March 24, 2020. (Photo by CDC/API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

That’s a faster reproduction rate than at any time since the surge in cases last fall. The Oregon Health Authority’s projections put the case reproduction rate lower. The growth is happening even as the state’s vaccination rate is rapidly increasing. In Oregon, more than 1 in 5 people are fully vaccinated. And 43.5% of the Oregon population over 16 has at least one dose, according to The Washington Post.

The “good news” according to OHA is the West Coast is experiencing a “different pandemic” right now because Oregon, Washington, and California are impacted by the California variant. In the rest of the nation, the U.K. variant—which is 50% more contagious—is the most common strain in the country. In Oregon, it’s less than 1.4% of the specimens that have been sequenced.

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