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Author: Phyllis Agran, MD, MPH

The COVID-19 Pandemic: Two Years In

January 20th marked the second anniversary of the first case of COVID-19 reported in the United States.

Since that time, 69.5 million cases have been reported throughout the nation and 861,000 of our fellow Americans have died from this horrible virus.

In Orange County, there have now been 477,127 reported cases of COVID-19 and 5,953 COVID-related deaths. (Medical officials estimate that the actual number of cases is significantly higher since those with minor symptoms often do not get tested … and pass the virus on to others.)

Last week, there were 3,378 new cases reported here in Irvine and, tragically, our community has lost 2 more of our Irvine neighbors.

The latest Omicron surge is not yet over, but predictions indicate we will begin to see a decrease in cases over the next few weeks. That’s the good news. The bad news is that our health care system continues to be under tremendous strain.

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Another COVID-19 Surge Across Orange County & Here in Irvine

On January 10th, the OC Health Care Agency reported a staggering 22,945 new cases of COVID-19 for the day; and 964 patients hospitalized with COVID-19. (87% of those hospitalized are unvaccinated.)

In just over three weeks, there have been 79,423 new cases of COVID-19 reported in Orange County and 62 more residents in the County have died from this horrible virus.

During the same time period, there have been 7,710 new cases of COVID-19 reported here in Irvine, and we have lost another neighbor to the virus.

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As We Head into the Holidays, We Must Educate the Community on the Importance of COVID-19 Vaccines

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the number of reported COVID-19 cases in children has increased. In fact, the week before Thanksgiving there were at least 141,905 new cases reported in children — which was a full 25 percent of all new COVID-19 cases reported in the United States that week.

Vaccines are our way out of the pandemic. That is a fact based in science! The reason we continue to see an uptick in cases (and new variants) is because too many people are still not vaccinated.

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Children Ages 5-11 Now Eligible for COVID-19 Vaccine

As of late October, there have been nearly 6.4 million reported COVID-19 cases among children.

Good news! Parents and pediatricians have been anxiously waiting for federal health officials to give final approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5-11.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced authorized use of the vaccine on October 29th. The FDA’s decision impacts about 28 million children in the United States.

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COVID-19 Resources for Families

Throughout the pandemic, it has been very difficult for parents to separate fact from fiction from opinion.

To help, Orange County pediatricians, UC Irvine, and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) are working together to provide accurate information that parents can trust.

I’m proud to be a member of a working group that has been established within the health care and education community to help families make data-driven decisions for their children.

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Latest COVID-19 Stats


Cases in OC



Now Hospitalized



Deaths in OC



Cases in Irvine



Deaths in Irvine

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