Delta variant concerns loom ahead of Fourth of July weekend

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO – Down in San Diego’s Embarcadero, the tempo is picking up.

Heading into the Fourth of July holiday weekend, there’s noticeably more traffic by foot and by car with the area expected to draw huge numbers of travelers. But ahead of weekend celebrations, there’s growing concern over the emergence of the highly transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus.

The variant is spreading around the U.S. with states such as Missouri, Colorado and New Jersey hit hard. It’s led the World Health Organization to urge fully vaccinated residents to continue to wear masks indoors, guidance that’s being “strongly” recommended by Los Angeles County health officials as well.

Although masks are not being recommended by the CDC or San Diego County officials, the spread of the variant is being closely monitored.

“The delta variant is more infectious,” said Dr. William Tseng, the vaccine lead for Kaiser Permanente in the San Diego region. “What does that mean? It may transmit easier and may make you a lot sicker. So, we do have to be careful for the people who have not been vaccinated.”

Despite the heavy presence of the variant in other parts of the U.S., Tseng points out the variant has yet to have a significant presence in San Diego with just 25 reported cases this week. Fifteen cases were reported last week, according to local health officials.

Tseng’s concern is that the case number will stay on the rise.

“If it’s going to take over here, it’s going to be a couple of months,” he said. “Enjoy your time outdoors. Get some fresh air. Try to stay away from being indoors where it’s crowded and the most important is still get vaccinated.”

Variant aside, this weekend’s Big Bay Boom, which is airing on FOX 5, is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of spectators and generate a $10 million boost to the local economy. It’s excellent timing for local businesses and vendors like Eric Gomez.

“I feel like this is the day,” Gomez said. “A good, big push that everybody’s been waiting for, you know?”

He expects to sell as many sunglasses this weekend as he has in months.

“It’s been getting busy,” he said. “A lot of people from Arizona, Vegas. Everybody’s coming out here today, but I feel like tomorrow and Sunday, especially Sunday will be our busiest.”

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