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COVID: Vaccine Has Bay Area Experts Optimistic Despite CDC Warning Of 'Impending Doom'

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- A dire warning of 'an impending doom' was issued from the director of the Centers for Disease Control, but is a fourth and deadly COVID-19 surge really around the corner?

There are positive signs here in the Bay Area with Alameda County expected to move into the orange tier this week.

Infectious disease specialist, Dr. Monica Gandhi of UCSF, says there is a reason to remain optimistic as more people become eligible for vaccines.

"I'm going to reflect on the recurring feeling I have of impending doom," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Monday.

The swift easing of restrictions and rising cases in some parts of the country have top health officials concerne, but Dr. Gandhi is seeing more hope than fear.

"What is making me optimistic is watching the vaccines play out on the world stage," she said.

Dr. Gandhi points out, vaccines are having a huge impact in lessening the severity of COVID-19.

"One death in LA County today from COVID-19. That is a big deal," Dr. Ghandi says. "Zero deaths from COVID-19 in the city of London today. That is a big deal and that is how vaccines work."

The CDC also released findings of a study showing how well the vaccines are working. Out of roughly 4000 participants, the vaccine reduced the risk of infection by 80% after one shot and 90% after two.

As the rush to vaccinate continues, the Bay Area may see an uptick in cases over Spring break but Dr. Gandhi doesn't expect a huge increase in hospitalizations and deaths.

"The reason that any increase in cases now is different than it was in spring, the summer and the winter is that we have the protection of vaccines protecting those who got vaccinated and they're not the ones going into the hospital," said Ghandi.

Still, federal health officials stress it's too early in the vaccination effort to relax social distancing guidelines and urge people to continue wearing a mask.

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