By Wilson Walker

OAKLAND (KPIX) — The COVID positivity rate has fallen again in California with hospitalizations down in many parts of the state, including the Bay Area.

In fact, it might not be long before the region is back to where it was in May and June.

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“The models are showing us that by mid-to-late September, we’re going to be at low levels, back to low levels of cases; those comfortable low levels that we had for so long,” said UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Monica Gandhi.

Thanks to high vaccination rates and some extra precautions, the Bay Area is moving out of the delta surge. It is some decidedly good news that Gandhi fears is getting lost in a flurry of differing headlines about the state of the pandemic.

“I think we’re having mixed messaging where people are talking about breakthroughs a lot,” Gandhi explains. “But David Leonhardt gave a really great New York Times article this morning. He said really, your breakthrough risk depends on whether you are in a place with low or high infection rates. Totally makes sense.”

“You just have to look at what happened in Florida and Texas and the South to say, ‘This could have been us’ right? If we had had lower vaccination rates,” said UCSF Epidemiologist George Rutherford. “So we have accomplished a great deal.”

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Rutherford says Delta has exposed the risk of having chunks of the population unprotected, and noted there are still corners of the region — and age groups — where there’s more work to be done.

“We need to be working on improving our vaccine coverage,” explained Rutherford. “We need to anticipate when pediatric vaccines are going to become available, kids 5 to 11, which I would hope would be in October sometime.”

There’s another reason overcoming Delta would be a huge accomplishment. A lot of experts think the variant is so transmissible that it simply cannot evolve to become more contagious. If that is the case, the virus might have thrown its best punch.

“Once people get more and more immunity, another virus can’t take hold,” Gandhi said. “So it’s the only terrible silver lining to Delta; it’s affecting a lot of people and leading to a lot of immunity.”

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“Monica is right approximately 110% of the time. So I think she’s probably right on this,” said Rutherford. “I don’t see any big new mutations coming down the pike.”