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Health experts in Santa Maria warn India COVID-19 spike could spread to US, urge residents to get vaccinated

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SANTA MARIA, Calif. - At JDX Pharmacy in Santa Maria, Sagar Asodia is helping people get their COVID-19 shots.

But as case numbers are falling here in Santa Barbara County, the numbers are rising in his home country.

"In India right now there's variance that are unbelievable ... it's causing the whole country's health system to almost collapse," said Asodia.

The numbers are staggering with more than 22.6 million cases.

Basic supplies like oxygen is rare.

None of the local COVID cases show the India variant, but one was reported in San Diego.

Doctors say it's important to take this seriously.

"When these mutations happen you can make the virus more deadly and make it more transmittable," said Dr. Scott Robertson at Marian Regional Medical Center.

Doctors don't know yet how much the vaccines will protect against the India strain of COVID which is why health experts continue to urge people to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"If we get those over here it could make the vaccines a lot less effective ... so it's really important that we try to combat the virus right now while it's still controllable at least in our country," said Asodia.

"We have seen a tremendous decrease in the prevalence of COVID-19 over the last several months and that's really directly attributed to the vaccine availability and people using common sense ... keeping our hands clean staying away from others that they're outside of their household ... and continuing to wear a mask when out in the public, especially if they're not vaccinated," said Robertson.

California / Community / Coronavirus / Lifestyle / Local News / Santa Maria - Lompoc - North County / Video
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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.

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