Calculating risk on Mother's Day as COVID cases rise

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and for moms like Lisa Alway, that means spending time with family, including her 2-year-old daughter.

"We are going to go meet with her grandma, my mom, and her grandpa, my stepfather," said Alway.

Her daughter is too young to get vaccinated, but Always is not worried. "We will wear masks if they are required, but we’re not concerned as far as catching it," she said.

Cristina Urbana from Oakland is planning an outdoor picnic to celebrate Mother’s Day. She said, "I know there has been a rise in cases, but I do feel comfortable and safe doing things outside."

COVID cases are on the rise throughout the Bay Area. Doctor Monica Gandhi, an infectious disease doctor at UCSF, said this is because a highly-transmissible sub-variant of the virus is here. "It’s probably the most transmissible omicron variant we’ve seen to date," said Gandhi.

But hospitalizations remain low. Dr. Gandhi credits the amount of people who have been vaccinated and boosted. "We are in a phase of the pandemic where we are never going to get rid of cases, our hospitalizations are staying low, and we want to get back to life. So think of this as your own risk calculation time of the pandemic," said Gandhi.

In Santa Clara County, public health officer Sara Cody said the area is in a 6th phase of infections. "We came out of the devastating omicron wave, had a brief respite, and for the last month our cases and levels of community transmission have been slowly rising," said Cody.

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So what should people do if they are meeting with grandma this weekend? Dr. Gandhi said those who are most vulnerable, like the elderly or immunocompromised, should mask indoors.

And those over the age of 70 should get their 2nd booster, if they haven’t already.