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Doctors weigh in on SD county surpassing 5,000 COVID deaths

Posted at 7:18 PM, Feb 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-23 22:18:48-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County has surpassed 5,000 COVID-related deaths since the pandemic began.

“Two weeks ago, we had ten deaths on one day, and that’s a lot of patients," said Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, Scripps Health's Chief Medical Officer of Acute Care and Clinical Excellence.

As California moves to ease COVID restrictions, Dr. Sharieff said the virus is still a deadly threat.

Last week, Dr. Sharieff said a 22-year-old who was unvaccinated died from the virus.

Tuesday, the hospital had three more COVID-related deaths.

“Which is heartbreaking, especially when you see these younger deaths that could’ve been avoided,” Dr. Sharieff said.

Dr. William Tseng, the Assistant Chief of Staff at Kaiser San Diego, said as long as there are hospitalizations, there’s a possibility of death.

“So if we can minimize the number of people ever needing the hospital, we will minimize the number of casualties from COVID," Dr. Tseng said.

Dr. Tseng said before vaccines, 1 in 50 to 1 in 100 people who contracted COVID died from the virus. Now, the case fatality rate is 1 in 30,000.

"In terms of science, we've done a lot to help make sure that people don't die from the disease... if they're vaccinated," Dr. Tseng said.

But the doctors said this is still a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

Dr. Sharieff said Scripps currently has 126 COVID hospitalizations. More than 80% are unvaccinated.

“We have four patients in-house who’ve been boostered, which goes to show boosters do work. But the rest is 80% plus unvaccinated," she said.

“We as a county need to drive up that booster rate so that we can prevent you from being in the hospital and prevent you from dying," Dr. Tseng said.