A lone resident is seen within the MSC-South homeless shelter, San Francisco's largest, on Friday night — hours after Mayor London Breed announced an 'outbreak' of COVID-19 here. Some 71 residents and five staff tested positive. After Breed announced MSC-South would become a medical facility, that plan was abruptly changed; every remaining resident is now in a quarantine or isolation hotel.

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ALSO: COVID-19 outbreak among the homeless may yet undo the city’s best-laid plans — just like everyone feared it would


Let’s start with the facts, which are incontrovertible. 

On Tuesday, March 17, at the stroke of midnight, San Franciscans were made to shelter-in-place, not at the declaration of Mayor London Breed, or any elected official, but due to a regional order banged out over the prior weekend and released by seven health directors across six Bay Area counties. 

You can see it here. You can see the places where the order states “BLANK” so each of the six counties can insert “San Francisco” or “Solano” or Alameda” or whatever into its version of the text. 

The order concludes with a line marked “NAME, Health Officer of the County of BLANK.” 

This order was superseded on March 31 by an extension. You can see it here. You will note that San Francisco has simply copied-and-pasted the text from Santa Clara, which explains why it lists the COVID-19 case totals for that county. (San Francisco only met and passed the 848 cases listed in this March 31 dictum on April 12 or thereabouts — after the outbreak at the MSC-South homeless shelter. More about that momentarily.). 

Late at night on March 15, state officials confirmed to me that we would be getting a regional shelter-in-place order coming out the next day, and the announcement would be made by the counties’ health directors on Monday afternoon. 

And that did happen. You can see it here. But, before the seven doctors spoke at a press conference helmed by Santa Clara health officer Dr. Sara Cody, San Francisco Mayor London Breed scheduled her own, earlier press conference.

Officials in multiple Bay Area counties told me they were taken aback by this deviation from an agreed-upon plan. 

“We were told no one would announce anything until the county health officers held their presser. Letting the white coats make the announcement on the order was viewed as ‘the scientists know best’ optic,” said one county official from over the bridge. “This was all worked out by the county health officers and then told to the electeds.” 

Here are the facts, again incontrovertibly: An early March study in Santa Clara led by the Centers for Disease Control found a ghastly 11 percent of sickly people it surveyed tested positive for COVID-19 — leading county health director Dr. Cody to convene her medical colleagues and issue that regional order only days later. And if you don’t believe me, believe the San Francisco Chronicles brilliant Erin Allday

But, by holding her press conference first, Breed grabbed the spotlight and the nation’s attention. A regional order issued by regional health directors for health reasons has instead been portrayed — inaccurately — as a unilateral San Francisco crusade, led by an intrepid San Francisco elected official. 

Other counties’ elected and appointed officials have grumbled quietly about this, and journalists, to my knowledge, have not yet put all these facts in one place. 

Perhaps that’s because the mayor deserves no small degree of leeway in the midst of a crisis. And San Franciscans should be, to some extent, grateful for Mayor London Breed. 

We should be grateful that our mayor took the COVID-19 threat seriously, listened to her health experts, and supported their dictums. This is not faint praise; this is more than many local, state and — notably — federal officials could be bothered to do. The comparison of Breed tweeting out warnings of a pending shelter-in-place while New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio made theater recommendations is telling, regardless of who issued the shelter-in-place orders. 

Breed declaring a state of emergency on Feb. 25 was a move that has aged well. San Francisco, and the Bay Area writ large, have not been ravaged by COVID-19 as other areas have, and that’s because of relatively early, aggressive actions (at least among the housed population). 

So, we should praise Mayor Breed for what she did and what she’s done. But not for what she didn’t do and hasn’t done — and will not do.

We must not allow a false narrative to become cemented and then serve as a foundation. We must not allow this false narrative to obscure — and buttress criticisms against — how this city is conducting its business.

And that is happening. To wit, in the latest blithe report from a national publication that San Francisco is single-handedly leading the charge against COVID-19, The Atlantic this weekend published a jarring article titled “The City That Has Flattened the Coronavirus Curve: Mayor London Breed’s early and aggressive moves to contain the outbreak have made San Francisco a national model in fighting the pandemic.”

Separate and apart from premature medical diagnoses in a city in which, for weeks, first-responders purportedly had to drive out to Hayward to be tested — embarrassing San Francisco government officials — this article does not make any mention of the five other counties under the identical regional order.

It does not, in fact, make any mention of that regional health order, issued by seven health directors in six counties. It does not make any reference to Dr. Cody or the CDC-led study in her county that led to a cadre of health directors convening and issuing this order. Rather, The Atlantic states that Breed issued the order, which is factually incorrect — and, given the omission of the five other counties and their health directors, is also highly misleading. 

The article does note that Breed curtailed large gatherings, such as Warriors games, without mentioning that days earlier, Santa Clara County curtailed large gatherings such as Sharks games. The article fails, however, to mention that San Francisco officials implored the Warriors to cancel games for days and were rebuffed; San Francisco banned large gatherings in city-owned venues and left private entities to their own devices. 

The city’s non-mandatory “aggressive recommendations” to curtail the virus included “canceling non-essential events” including “large gatherings such as concerts, sporting events, conventions, or large community events” — but the Dubs — a team with a 15-50 record — were still allowed to fill Chase Center for two more games. 

The Atlantic reports that Breed was inspired to shut this city down when she saw horrific photos and videos emanating from Wuhan from late 2019 and early 2020 — even though, again, the health officers shut this city down. But the article does not report that she wrote a letter to would-be attendees of the massive February RSAC Conference in San Francisco downplaying their COVID-19 fears. 

“Risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 in San Francisco is low as the virus is not circulating in our community,” she wrote on Feb. 20. “San Francisco is open for business … as leaders in business and government, we must set an example to prevent fear, rumors, and misinformation from guiding our actions.” 

That conference was not canceled, despite Verizon and IBM seeing fit to pull out. At least two attendees did, indeed, subsequently test positive for COVID-19

On Mission Street. Photo by Lola M. Chavez.

All of which led up to Breed’s April 10 announcement that 68 homeless residents and two staffers at MSC-South had tested positive for COVID-19, numbers that have since been updated to 71 residents and five staffers. 

And we are all still waiting to hear how awful the outbreak will become at Laguna Honda Hospital — city officials I have spoken with are bracing for a dire outcome. Dozens of cases are reported in San Francisco’s single-room occupancy hotels, too.

So, the city’s manic, incoherent and insufficient COVID-19 plans for its homeless and underserved populations isn’t a mere footnote in the grander story, as The Atlantic portrayed it. It may end up being the story. It’s a major weak spot that could undermine all the city’s best-laid plans, and swamp much or all of the good work San Francisco did. 

Even if you don’t care much about the plight of impoverished and/or homeless people — and, clearly, many in this city do not — they will still wander about breathing your air, get sick and go to your hospital and need to use your ventilator. Even the most selfish person should realize this is everyone’s problem.  

A massive outbreak in a crowded homeless shelter manned by under-equipped staffers was this city’s Chernobyl — the predicted and predictable outcome of a concatenation of missteps and dubious decisions. 

For weeks, a growing chorus from the Board of Supervisors, faith leaders, and homeless advocates has called for housing the city’s vulnerable homeless population not in crowded, congregate shelters or on the streets but in the city’s vast recesses of vacant hotel rooms. 

But Breed has resisted this call. First, it was explained that the asymptomatic homeless were not one of the priority groups as prioritized by the Department of Public Health. Then this was portrayed as a staffing/capacity issue. And, finally, it was portrayed as a cost issue; obtaining thousands of hotel rooms and shuttling the homeless into them was not deemed to be “fiscally prudent” for a city facing a potential shortfall exceeding $1 billion.

Along with all that, Breed claimed that “people who have drug challenges and mental health issues are not going to take a room and stay there.” 

Fair enough. But the relatively functional homeless people who don’t fit those criteria — perhaps half, by the reported estimate of this city’s homeless department officials — would take a room and stay there. Families would take a room and stay there. The staffing at such a hotel wouldn’t need to be so different than what you’ll find in supportive housing — and San Francisco houses tens of thousands of people in supportive housing every day. 

And the costs, while astronomical, likely pale in comparison to paying on the back end in hospitals after leaving people in shelters or fending for themselves on the streets during a pandemic. To say nothing of the moral or humanitarian costs of doing that. 

But that’s what we’ve done thus far. The status quo was to keep homeless people crammed into crowded shelters without much in the way of physical distancing. The status quo was to have city policy be to inform homeless providers to keep hotel rooms empty rather than move in vulnerable families who are sleeping in cars or domestic violence shelters in the midst of a plague. The status quo was to curtail new entries into the shelters in a belated attempt to enable distancing, resulting in ever denser shantytowns on the sidewalks. The status quo was to attempt to solve the contagion problem of crowded, congregate shelters by opening up even bigger congregate shelters

After announcing the outbreak at MSC South on Friday, Breed told the press that “the fact is, we were on top of it.” 

Considering the weeks of high-decibel begging to take action to avoid just such an outcome, this was a truly mind-boggling thing to say. It was akin to boasting, “We caught the baby on the first bounce.” 

She also noted that the city could “act fast” because hundreds of hotel rooms were at the ready in the event of an outbreak. But not, it would seem, beforehand. 

While Breed initially announced that MSC South would become a medical center, that plan, like so many others addressing the plight of the city’s neediest, was quickly scrapped. Instead, the shelter-dwellers were moved, en masse, to hotels.

MSC South is now empty. A line of tents ring its perimeter.  

Articles like the one in The Atlantic play into San Francisco’s natural sense of exceptionalism. And, in this case, that isn’t just uncalled for and factually indefensible. It’s also dangerous. 

It allows us to ignore the written evidence and see things as we’d simply wish they were. San Francisco is doing better because we are better. It allows us to ignore the dearth of testing and insufficient contact tracing and false starts and reversals on housing the homeless and the melodrama on acquiring hotel rooms and the indignant responses to calls for transparency. 

It allows us to shrug our shoulders and write off the shelter outbreak as inevitable — when it didn’t have to be. 

We can do better. We must do better. Lives are at stake. We aren’t out of this yet. 

That, too, is an incontrovertible fact. 

 

***

Regular readers who have not yet donated, it is time. Original reporting is not free and disappears without support.

 
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Join the Conversation

119 Comments

  1. Mayor Breeds responsibilities extends to hundreds of thousands of people. Compare her actions to our Commander & Chief.

    As you wrote:
    ‘…We should be grateful that our mayor took the COVID-19 threat seriously, listened to her health experts, and supported their dictums. This is not faint praise; this is more than many local, state and — notably — federal officials could be bothered to do…’

    I am.

    1. BREAKING: After largest COVID outbreak in CA shelter (71 test positive), San Franciscans protest @LondonBreed lack of action on moving homeless into vacant hotel rooms. #HotelsNotHospitalBeds #TestAllShelters

    2. Your comment is a distraction from the piece above. Breed did not do what the Atlantic is saying she did. Nothing is wrong with Breed’s actions but the point is she was not responsible for the Bay Area’s shut down.

      1. She is responsible by issuing a state of emergency very early to facilitate the shelter in place order and readily mobilize available resources.

    3. Along with the homeless getting infected, 70 some out of thousands and thousands, what will happen once the shelter-in-place order is lifted (if ever!)? Does anyone wonder what happens then? Simple logic will easily lead you to conclude the following: by strict isolation the vast majority will be ‘sheltered’ from the virus, meaning those people will not be exposed to it which means they will not build immunity to the virus. That’s a good thing, right? What happens once those people, of all ages, are released (yes released rather than allowed because a shelter-in-place is a form of house arrest and one gets released once they serve their sentence) back into society? Common sense will tell you without immunity many will be infected and fall victim to the virus. This will lead to mass chaos. I’m appalled at why nobody is writing about this and thinking about it. Being isolated sounds great on paper yet in reality, if this virus is as infectious as everyone claims, it’s counterproductive.
      The homeless have a greater chance of building immunity than the sheltered.
      Now I’m fully expecting to hear that we need to get a vaccine and that’s the way of stopping the spread in my scenario. How long until we get a vaccine? How effective will it be? What will be the consequences of such vaccine? What will be inside the vaccine? There’s an article in the SFExaminer detailing how our health officials want to track us via our phones to automatically isolate everyone for 14 days who has come in contact with an infected person who has tested positive. Would you like to randomly be told you need to go back into isolation after the ahelter-in-place order has been lifted? I would not.
      I am not proposing a solution here, only thinking out loud about realistic problems nobody seems to want to tackle and discuss.

      1. Your basic premise about immunity has yet to be proven. Blood serology that is positive for the virus that causes Covid-19 has not been proven as an indicator of immunity. Until we have that fact to ensure that that is the case, everything else is just speculation.

      2. We need to stay sheltered in place for a long time. Time for hospitals to be bolstered with supplies, time to works on medications and vaccines, time to establish a plan for gradual re-opening on a small scale. Releasing everybody at once would undo everything we’ve done to slow the spread of the virus.

  2. Campers,

    Breed learned from a Master.

    I.E., Willie Brown.

    Like Gavin taking credit for Ammiano’s, ‘Healthy San Francisco’
    after opposing it.

    Willie once said:

    “If you come to me with a good idea …

    Before you leave my office it will be ‘our’ idea.

    By the time you hit the street, it will be ‘my’ idea.”

    Go Giants!

    h.

    1. I guess you are right. Then it is imperative that the media hold up a mirror that isn’t a funny mirror. Where is the SF Chron today?

    2. Oh harold,

      London Breed needs to blame donald trump more for the COVID virus. When Trump wanted to shut down travel from china, we all said he was racist, which is correct. But as progressives, in order to keep our credibility, we must blame other people for our mistakes, for the good of society. I can’t wait until chesa puts us in a warehouse and tells us to drink Kool aid. I’ll happily obey his every directive, because I’m a stupid idiot.

  3. You can say that the Mayor’s inaction on housing the homeless is seconded only by that of the veto-proof progressive super majority on the Board of Supervisors.

    But the main issue is that The City has seen only 14 deaths from Covid so far. Currently we have only 28 people in ICUs, which is down from a peak of 38 people in the ICU 10 days ago. That is amazing by any measure.

    The reality is that SF struggles with what to do about the homeless even in normal times. All the powers that be, including the vaunted progressives on the BoS, are content to let people wallow in misery on the streets rather than take real action to solve the problem. Breed said early that The City was not going to solve homelessness during the pandemic. At least she was honest.

    Thinking ahead, San Francisco is going to have to come to terms with ending camping on the street permanently. It is a too dangerous disease vector. And it makes it impossible to give care and services to people when they are spread out at random across the city. Tent camps followed by expanded shelters need to be put in place for the street campers and camping on the street banned for good.

    1. Hey, fully agree with your take here, just curious where she said she wouldn’t solve homelessness now. Can’t find it.

    2. Much of the success in limiting the virus in SF is attributable to tech companies shutting down VERY quickly and having people work from home. Being tech companies, this was relatively easy to do.

      This was a great article BTW.

    3. This may sound crass and unfeeling but as long as 30-40% of the homeless are from somewhere else–in other words they moved here from other towns and cities to presumably avail themselves of SF’s $300 million homeless budget, we simply will never have the resources to address the magnitude of this societal failure. Let alone in the context of a global pandemic. Let’s do survey of all the cities that have large homeless populatikns. I suspect we’ll find they are all wrestling with the enormity of this and none are handling it well. Rather than criticize, help us figure out how to return the “visitors” to their original towns and cities. This will enable cities like San Francisco to have a better chance of serving own citizens.

  4. If we didn’t know better, we might suspect that reporters for out of town news media were accepting a carefully crafted narrative from the mayor’s office, instead of digging into the deep recesses of SF in search of more revealing information.

    1. Mayor @LondonBreed – We can move all shelter residents into hotels now. Listen to service providers who have said they staff & move entire shelters into hotels! #HotelsNotHospitalBeds

  5. Yes, we know. Fake news. From the failing Atlantic Magazine. We’ve heard similar from other people about media reports that they don’t like.

    Meanwhile, Breed first declared a state of emergency on Feb 26, before San Francisco had its first confirmed case.

    Late last week UCSF was able to send 20 medical professionals to help New York.

    The science writer for the Times said that SF hospitals have extra ventilators due to fast action by local leaders.

    Meanwhile, can anyone point me to one city that has already secured hotel rooms for all of its homeless? I suspect that it might be more complex than just walking down the street passing out room keys.

    Thank you, Mayor Breed. You obviously are doing something right.

    1. LA has secured thousands of hotel and motel rooms for its homeless population which is several times the size of San Francisco ‘s.

      1. San Francisco’s homeless population is ~10x larger than LA’s, per capita, so your comparison is misleading to begin with: https://www.spur.org/publications/urbanist-article/2017-10-23/homelessness-bay-area

        Empirically, my friends living in Venice and Santa Monica see the same fearless growth of encampments in their neighborhoods that I see between the Mission and Castro, so the lived experience doesn’t diverge much.

        Now that we’ve established that SF isn’t doing much differently than at least one comparable city, consider that LA county has both the advantage of outlying areas with inexpensive hotels and a city bureaucracy not as beholden to the self-defeating interest groups and non-profit braintrusts of incompetence we have. Given all that, it’s impressive we haven’t entirely imploded, yet.

        1. While per capita is a neat number for statisticians (and other liars) sheer, raw number count for more sometimes.

          Give it up.

          1. Well Bruce doesn’t like all that “data” and “facts”. He’s a guy who depends on street knowledge and good old “this is just what I know.”

            sigh…

    2. If you think all the homeless have secured hotel rooms you haven’t done any social-distancing-walks down Van Ness between Geary and McAllister lately.

      1. Dave-
        Not sure if you were able to read the article that you linked to. It is about one hotel and it describes the effort as

        “It is the first of what will be dozens of hotels opened by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority to get seniors and medically fragile people off the streets and out of overcrowded shelters.”

        And we’re doing the same thing in San Francisco for unhoused people who are also older or otherwise at special risk.

        Breed is being vilified because she hasn’t found rooms for all unhoused and sheltered people.

        Can you please point me to a single city that has been able to do that?

        Thank you very much.

        -Y

        1. Yuliya,

          Strong response. Unfortunately Dave can’t read so it’s difficult to educate people like them. Other cities treat the homeless for what it is, a problem and thus their local news actually covers issues that are relevant. Other cities homeless go to shelters and the police arrest drug addicts/dealers.

        2. Yuliya,

          This aticle doesn’t “vilify” Mayor Breed nor did Sarask’s comment simply stating that LA had already secured and placed homeless in many hotel rooms and is a little bit ahead of the city’s actions to date. Mayor Breed has been favorably compared to most other mayor’s and other cities – but the point of this article has been to accurately point out that we cannot rest on our laurels. In the case of the homeless, the proposal to move the homeless into hotels was made earlier and not taken, serving instead as an “in case there is an outbreak” backup – which unsurprisingly occurred. Do you believe that Trump’s “I cut off travel from China early and thus I have acted perfectly throughout the pandemic” (paraphrased defense) is a sufficient defense or argument?
          Sheltering the homeless / reducing homelessness is one of the most difficult issues of our generation, even in normal times. No one thinks there’s a simple easy solution. And it’s obviously even more difficult and challenging, and competing with critical priorities, during this pandemic. But that doesn’t mean shortcomings in policy and action cannot or should not be identified so they can be corrected and avoided in the future.

      1. So are we. San Francisco’s entire strategy is to identify vulnerable homeless only (60+ or pre-existing conditions) and move them proactively into isolation. Whether we are able to successfully execute it is a great question, but for what it’s worth City Hall can’t successfully tie its shoelaces.

    3. I really actually need to need to be able to feel that somebody did something right. This article of course has important points to make. London Breed (and btw I did not vote for her) is NOT Donald Trump. That gives me hope. Yes, I think about the SF folx without shelter. Donald Trump would let them all die if he had his way.

      1. Has anyone given any consideration to the hotels’ housekeeping staff and the risks to them and their families if the city used their hotels as medical care facilities instead of the convention center?

    4. Oh, please. No matter your argument, please don’t discredit it by embracing the juvenile language of “fake news” and the “failing” (fill in the blank here).

  6. How refreshing to read some factual reporting calling out MSM lies and Fake news.

    I love this part…….

    ….”Articles like the one in The Atlantic play into San Francisco’s natural sense of exceptionalism. And, in this case, that isn’t just uncalled for and factually indefensible. It’s also dangerous.

    It allows us to ignore the written evidence and see things as we’d simply wish they were.”…..

    —-

    So true….so true….

    Already the fake news story from, “The Atlantic” is being repeated over and over again. My South Beach neighborhood association has already sent a link to the story…..giving kudos to Breed….”for her quick action…and leadership”.

    “Keep repeating the lie enough times and it becomes a fact.”
    –Saul Alinsky

    Like we are supposed to lap up “The Atlantic” as”facts” …. like nice little sheepel.

    Keep up your in depth coverage of the Pols at city hall.
    Well done Joe…well done

      1. “Do not believe on the strength of traditions, even if they have been held in honor for many generations and in many places; do not believe anything because many people speak of it; do not believe on the strength of sages of old times; do not believe that which you have yourselves imagined, thinking that God has inspired you. Believe nothing which depends on the authority of your masters and priests.
        [Don’t believe what you hear and see on FB, social media or commercial networks.]
        After investigation, believe that which you have yourselves tested and found reasonable,
        that which is good for you and the good of others.”

        Kalama Sutra (The Buddha’s Charter of Free Inquiry)

        1. Totally agree with charter free inquiry!!! Have tested many things for myself, reject the ones that I can’t prove. Jury’s still out on the round earth theory, no matter how high up I go I can’t see the curve. WAKE UP PEOPLE. We need more self reliance. People should turn their homes into a science lab as I have done. Test everything and don’t just take it for granted, everything has a profit motive I’ve started to grow all my own food as well and will one day build my own home. That’s the problem, can’t trust anything

      2. So, for example,

        Someone saying ” ‘The Atlantic’ article about San Francisco is fake news” should not be taken seriously,

        Someone saying ” ‘The Atlantic’ article about San Francisco is a fable” should be taken seriously.

        The distinction might be lost on some.

      3. Excellent job correcting the record, Joe!

        Yes, lives are at stake.

        Anyone here know the Atlantic writer or the editors involved with that piece? I was really embarrassed for them when I read it – and now, even more so.

    1. Breed acted quickly and the mayor of San Francisco, unlike the mayor of New Orleans, who said she waited for guidance from the White House on whether she should cancel Mardi Gras. She didn’t take the action to unilaterally cancel Mardi Gras, which would have angered many people but could have prevented the current situation in New Orleans, which has one of the largest number or corona cases and deaths in the country. T

    1. People saying “just move the homeless into vacant hotel rooms”: Vacant does not = available, because the City doesn’t own these hotels, private companies and landlords do. Breed can’t house people in hotels unless the hotel owners are 1) willing to accept them at all, and 2) willing to negotiate a nightly rate the City can actually afford to pay (not an easy task given the extreme revenue crunch from the shutdown). Some hotel owners have agreed to take the homeless, but so far most haven’t. If they don’t want to open their doors, Breed can’t legally force them to.

      Yes, the fact that we have crowded shelters and people on the streets while thousands of hotel rooms sit empty is a travesty and an unconscionable misallocation of unused resources. But it’s also something City Hall has very limited control over, so your anger is directed at the wrong people. If you want to protest, protest the hotel owners who would rather keep their doors shut than accept homeless people at a discounted rate. Maybe if they get enough bad publicity they’ll open the doors to people in need. But until then the City can only do what it can with the resources it has.

  7. And yet the vocally complaint BoS has as of this date *still* not approved funding for the $105M
    needed for this. How the Mayor pay the hotels of the BoS won’t approve the funding? The Homeless Services budget is tapped. Dig a little deeper Joe.

  8. For those of you who are under the impression that Los Angeles has found rooms for all of its unhoused and sheltered people:

    https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/los-angeles-undergoes-massive-effort-to-get-homeless-into-hotels

    “money from the federal government would help pay for at least 15,000 hotel rooms during the pandemic. But Los Angeles County, with the state’s largest concentration of homeless people at some 60,000, has set its own goal of 15,000 rooms.”

    Note: That is a GOAL of finding 30,000 for HALF of its 60,000 unhoused. Which is not the same as ACTUALLY securing rooms for ALL.

    https://time.com/5817278/los-angeles-homeless-hotels-coronavirus/

    “The hotel rooms set aside under the state’s Project Roomkey are reserved for the “most vulnerable” of the county’s homeless population, Marston said. These include people over 65 years old or those with underlying health conditions”

    https://la.curbed.com/2020/4/8/21214208/hotel-rooms-homeless-los-angeles-coronavirus

    “County officials say that by early next week, more than 1,340 hotel beds will be available for people living on streets and in shelters.”

    Again, LA has 60,000 unhoused people.

    So that’s 3 reliable sources that all say that LA is in the process of trying to find rooms for SOME of its unhoused, based upon their risk. Which is what San Francisco is also doing.

    You all have time on your hands…why not find ONE instance of a city that has found rooms for all of its unhoused and sheltered.

    I’ll wait. Thanks.
    -Y

    1. It’s not a lack of rooms, it is a lack of will. The 68 from MSC have, we’re told, been moved into hotel rooms. In a recent ML article and the Mayor’s press conference after the MSC outbreak, Breed and the Chief of Strategy for the Department of Homelessness etc. said we can’t move people into hotels because of a lack of staff, supplies and social workers. Now it turns out, none of that is as big a deal as it seemed. We get one thing one day, another thing the next. It’s never clear, except very little if anything has been done. Whether or not LA did or did not move their homeless population to hotel rooms is beside the point. This is the announced policy of the City on one hand, and on the other, we can’t do it. What do you conclude from that?

    2. Just as a point of reference:
      LA county has a pop of 10.0 M.
      SF county has a pop of 0.9 M – roughly 10% of LA
      LA has a camper pop of … 60k. 10% of which would be 6000
      SF has a camper pop in excess of 8000; about 30+% more than LA, proportionally.

      SF has a larger % of tourist hotel rooms, proportionally – 35k vs 100k for LA. But one also has to consider that while LA has ~10k SRO rooms, SF has TWICE that amt.; and SROs are almost as bad – pandemic-wise – as congregate housing or tent camps; due to shared/no bath/toilet/kit spaces. In order to contain a virus spread, those ppl would also need to isolate effectively – thus would need a hotel room

      So, as an estimate, SF would need 2000 rooms for 1st responders-EMS, 8000 for campers (not including vehicle campers, but ..), plus 20,000 SRO resident households, or 30k rooms. We might almost be able to do that, commandeering almost all the hotel rooms in the city. LA would need 60k rooms (ignoring EMS for now), plus 10k for SROs, or 70k. our of 100k rooms. Difficult to say how many EMS rooms would be needed (ten times SF? or 20,000), but easily conclude that would be at or above the limit.

      “Trade Wars are easy to win”.

      1. Forget it **, it’s just a matter of “will” and not silly things like logistics, laws, liability, finances, staffing, medical best practice, ….

  9. In the interest of truth the Atlantic should publish Joe Eskenazi’s full disclosure. The Mayor betrayed the other counties with her premature, self-laudatory press conference and has since refused to act on expert advise from professionals in the health field and from the Board of Supervisors representing urgent concerns of their constituents.

  10. Well, even Inspector Clouseau gets it right on occasion. Breed deserves kudos for not being a moron and following the orders of the regional health officers, including Colfax, who deserve an enormous amount of credit. Mostly, especially for people without houses, the SF response has been contradictory and bumbling. Same really goes for Laguna Honda. The recent Chron piece reporting the delays and understaffing, undersupplying was jaw dropping. How did the City miss this? If there was ever a potential hot spot in SF, it has to be Laguna Honda. Hope we dodge that bullet.

  11. Great article – What i said from the beginning having lived in shelters myself ( Providence – bayview ) and seeing how quickly the common cold / flu catches on once somebody has it. So all this ain’t a surprise to me and i KNOW FOR SURE that are more positive cases in other shelters and on the streets of the TL. But just one thing to critique – that photo in the article “we will survive” … one that’s not in the know would assume that is taken at MSC South. No – that is a corner store on Haight. I know it coz i drive Lyft and i took pics of it and posted it on my FB. So, a little sensationalism on your part which is uncalled for.

    1. Thanks for reading.

      I don’t know why you’d think this is “sensationalism.” It’s a photo of life in San Francisco at this time, just like the photo of the lady walking down Mission Street.

      JE

  12. It’s good, as the article makes clear, to make history accurate. But the rest of the country doesn’t distinguish much between “San Francisco” and the Bay Area. And since the Bay Area really always has been “the suburbs of San Francisco,” that is not entirely without logic. What SF does, has always radiated out in the towns surrounding it. The point is that “San Francisco” and California, reacted to the crisis in a way that governments run by smart, courageous people would. That fact is in direct counterpoint to rest of America (including even New York, which is paying dearly for that now.) San Francisco gets bashed so often for stuff it doesn’t deserve, maybe it’s only fair it gets some cred when it clearly does something right.

  13. Even if you don’t care much about the plight of impoverished and/or homeless people — and, clearly, many in this city do not — they will still wander about breathing your air, get sick and go to your hospital and need to use your ventilator. Even the most selfish person should realize this is everyone’s problem.

    what is the solution when many people don’t give a rat’s *&* about the homeless? What makes you think there is a solution to the problem when we haven’t found a solution in years of trying and through years of prosperity? There is no “silver bullet”

    The mayor has done the best she can with trying to solve the problem and keep everyone in the city safe. Looking at our numbers to date I’d say she is doing pretty good.

    People are not following the stay at home orders and the virus is continuing to spread. Housing homeless people is a part of the solution but everyone, not just the mayor, must take responsibility

  14. I honestly can’t decipher the point of this post. What a pathetic meandering regurgitation of words, attacking the mayor and all of our local officials who have, as a reminder, put stay at home orders in place very early and kept the overall death toll to below 100 INCLUDING HOMELESS. Meanwhile other dense areas like New York City and Chicago see hundreds of deaths PER DAY. Even by Mission Local’s standards, this is low. I’m sure you will moderate out this comment too..

        1. E Gads! The homelessness industrial complex is desperately afraid that millions might get spent on homeless people without their operations getting their usual cut. The money might actually go to homeless people and not for salaries to pay NGO salaries of otherwise unemployable people who studied underwater basketweaving in college.

      1. Mission Local. Nothing local about it. More carpetbaggers bagging on the Mayor because she won a nasty election. SF progressives are really hard to stomach. I am a native and a progressive. An original member of the Green Party in San Francisco. I am so disgusted with the self-ordained progressives and their spite. EVEN during a pandemic, you idiots, this writer included, are politicizing a public health crisis. You might as well join the Trump administration. Haters will be haters. The fact of the matter is London Breed beat your candidates and squashed Ronen’s vitriol. You really should be ashamed of yourselves. This Mayor has exhibited competent leadership, sound policy, and foresight. You should be grateful you have her as Mayor. If you don’t think so, look at NY City. And get ready–she will be Mayor of 10 years.

    1. Upvote for Yuliya and Jose.

      Btw, it’s ok to have diverse opinions we’re not Republicans here, or in an echo chamber.

      And thanks Joe, don’t often agree with you but I’m interested in your thoughts. One day i might.

      Stay healthy all.

      Sam

    2. Well, the article’s author is more than a little bent out of shape that Mayor Breed got some good press. Anything else he’s trying to communicate really gets lost because of that.

  15. I’m always happy to read facts. I am no fan of Mayor Breed but this seems like a hit piece more than a clarification of facts. The passive aggressive tone and over simplification of the problem is convenient fodder for the author’s finger pointing.

    The city has been battling the homeless problem for decades now. Suddenly, during a global pandemic, the current Mayor is expected to solve the crisis single handedly?

    When we allow people to live in squalor and filth in the SROs and streets, of course it was inevitable. We bash the police for being forced into social services and we fight the hard but necessary choices to get the mentally ill commited and the drug addicted into programs. Yes, it was inevitable.

    1. Is this a joke?

      The homeless problem has reached a new high (Or low if you prefer). The street are a plague starter kit worse than the slums of Mumbai.

      You could see in February this was going to be horrible for the street population. Yet NOTHING was done until very late. Even then, you had people lying on mats 6 feet apart without so much as convention booth curtain to separate them. This was actually WORSE than doing nothing.

    2. “The city has been battling the homeless problem for decades now. ”

      Battling…you mean kicking the can down the road with “compassionate” excuses.

      Homelessness in San Francisco has been a unsolved soup sandwich going back to Camp Agnos and beyond.

      Hillery Ronan was asked how she would fix the homeless problem if she had her way. Her answer MORE MONEY!. GIVE US MORE MONEY. As if $50,000 dollars per homeless person in SF isn’t enough.

      “Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results. ”

      Keep electing imbeciles and results will always be the same.

  16. the amount of money that has been thrown in Homeless Inc. over the last ten year is outrageous…nothing to show for it but more homeless. When times are good many won’t go to shelters because of ‘rules’…when times are bad (like now) efforts to forcibly remove them from the streets will be met swiftly with sjw folks about rights.

  17. Only ONE shelter has been tested and HALF of the residents were positive for COVID-19. Mayor Breed is REFUSING FREE TESTS because she doesn’t want any more sick homeless in the COVID-19 count.

    https://twitter.com/HillaryRonen/status/1249423098505379840
    Hillary Ronen: UCSF is offering to test every resident at a shelter in SF for free following the 70 who tested positive at MSC South. City HAS NOT taken them up on the offer. We need a new team of decision makers in charge of taking care of the homeless population in SF. This is ridiculous!

    So yeah these low numbers of the sick… enjoy the illusion.

    1. This is incorrect and falsified rhetoric. The free testing has not been refused. Recently released, a joint statement from UCSF and the Mayor’s office outlined why exactly this mass testing was not happening yet. It’s a problem of swabs. We don’t have enough to do this safely. Please watch how much you spread misinformation.

      1. If only Hillary had the same commitment to meeting her campaign promise of 5k homes in the Mission as she has to making up facts to make the other people look bad. I see on her Twitter page she has not only kept up the original tweet but followed up with a news article that attempts to indirectly rebut Breed’s statement by saying UCSF received 10k non-FDA-approved-swabs that they should use instead. Incredible leadership.

  18. Joe, I am so grateful for this article, and for your writing in general. The article in the Atlantic infuriated me, with the inhumane treatment of homeless folks being a mere footnote, rather than the most significant chapter in the story of how Mayor Breed has handled Coronavirus.

    The one thing I would want to challenge is the people at the city who said that only about half of homeless people could handle being in a hotel room alone. I worked with homeless people for 20 years, and I’d estimate that 80-90% of homeless people can be in a hotel room without major problems.

    If a mental health issue or a substance use problem was criteria for excluding people from hotel rooms, most San Franciscans would be stuck in the cold when they travel! Jokes aside, if you give people a warm, safe room, a place to shower and go to the bathroom, and three meals a day, it is amazing how many people who might have seemed “too risky” to put in a room become almost entirely risk free, even if they have struggles with drugs or mental health.

    Keep doing your thing, Joe. You are the best that this city has when it comes to journalists.

    1. Granted a significant # (80%??) will enjoy their new elevated surroundings w/o problems. But how do you keep that significant # who will wish to sneak out to score and/or just congregate with others on the street from doing so? Negates the whole effort, if you ask me.

      I will agree with you that anyone who is willing to abide by the rules ought to get a room. And if they break the rules, toss them out for someone else who is willing and able. Hopefully we save those bodies. The others are hopeless (by choice) anyway. That included 8000 campers, 1500 vehicle campers, and 20-30,000 SRO residents. We simply don’t have enough hotel rooms for all those.

      So, it also seems to me that there are plenty of public blogs – school gyms, the Cow Palace, and others, where – IF acceptable disinfecting (attendants cleaning the toilets after each use) and distancing were taking place, that the house-less could find shelter and be able to shelter-in-place successfully.

      Without adequate testing, we have no idea how SRO residents are really faring, as they have some of the same vulnerabilities as congregate shelters do. And they are many more than the ‘simply homeless’.

  19. Excellent reporting of the facts vs. the false narrative. The lack of contact-tracing is something I haven’t seen written about much, if at all, and it is so important. Local reporting puts the big boys back east to shame.

  20. Although this article does state incontrovertible facts, the problem is in the facts it omits. Mayor Breed’s initial action to restrict events larger than 1,000 people occurred March 11th, a full 4 days before the 7 person regional health panel released their regional order, and 6 days before that order would go into effect. Although the 6-county shelter-in-place order was much more developed and restrictive than Breed’s initial ban on gatherings, critical dominoes had already fallen by then: forced cancellation of Warriors Games and other Chase Center events (Tame Impala 3/13), of Hamilton and other Broadway shows, etc. Utah’s Rudy Gobert tested positive and the NBA cancelled its season a few hours later, making Breed the only Mayor who had beaten them to the punch (and a likely influencer in their decision). Newsom expanded on Breed’s ban on March 12th, limiting events to 250 people state-wide.

    As far as I can tell, this is all the Atlantic article is really claiming: “Breed’s decision to ban gatherings of more than 1,000 people forced the hand of the Bay Area’s beloved Golden State Warriors, who this year moved into San Francisco’s Chase Center after nearly a half century in Oakland. Her decision, along with the NBA’s first positive case of the coronavirus, set in motion a chain of events that effectively shut down all of the nation’s major sports leagues.”

    Breed’s emphatic support for and collaboration with regional health advisors 4-6 days later wasn’t surprising to me, given her action the week before to curtail events and convey the seriousness with which her residents should take this pandemic. Considering the timeline, I have a hard time buying into a narrative that suggests she popped in from the crowd and grabbed the shelter-in-place baton for political gain and to undercut regional health advisors. She wasn’t a Johnny-come-lately to the covid crisis, she’s literally the woman who knocked down the first domino that led to the cancellation of *all* American professional and college sports. We’re judging her because of the timing of an announcement that everyone agrees reflected sound policy and solid collaboration between health advisors and elected officials?

    I’m less aware of the details around the homeless housing claims, and I’d love to find a credible source that’s publishing that information. Mission Local may be that source… but excluding Breed’s actions in the 4 days prior to March 15th from an assessment of her pandemic response suggests a pretty striking bias against her, which one would have to assume is reflected elsewhere in this article.

      1. Jeff D – excellent, another example of a successful collaboration between San Francisco public health advisors and political representatives, coming from entirely within San Francisco city and county, and going against this revisionist narrative that Breed was somehow a pandemic slacker who jumped in front of Santa Clara’s parade at the last second. The March 11th health officer pdf that you linked to was immediately backed and promoted with the full support of Mayor Breed on March 11th:
        https://abc7news.com/covid-19-coronvirus-sf-coronavirus-san-francisco/6003699/

        I don’t know about you, but I don’t typically get my news from dense pdfs posted to sfdph.com, I get it from local news outlets, and a mayor or governor announcing a policy is what tends to get picked up by news outlets and broadcast to residents and businesses. What would have been preferable in this situation, that Mayor Breed not made an announcement supporting her health advisors? Let these back-office unknowns work their own media connections, deal with the fallout of dozens of major event cancellations and business disruptions, all to make sure she wasn’t perceived as stealing their thunder?

        Can anybody name a regional or state-level health officer in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey or Michigan? The only time health officers are making the news is when elected politicians *don’t* adopt and promote their policies (see Missouri, South Dakota, Kansas, even New York during these same critical weeks in March). This is idea that Mayor Breed is sleazy for thoroughly embracing and evangelizing the ground-breaking somber decisions of regional health advisors is as big a case of damned-if-you-do / damned-if-you-don’t as I think I’ve ever heard. I’m seriously left struggling to understand what the woman possibly could have done to *not* earn the outrage of Breed-bloodthirsty “progressives” in SF.

  21. Save your furor for where it counts. The Bay Area is leading the charge. The health directors did an amazing job, esp Santa Clara, but they are not the voice of the people. They were not elected and who the public trusts. Mayor Breed took a stand for the Bay Area and in doing so created a tidal wave felt across the country. It’s her job to lead – that what we hired her for. If you’re upset that she stole the spotlight, it’s misplaced. As much as Fauci is the smartest guy in the room, Trump owns the spotlight (as disgusting as that is). She’s leading an incredible operation around forbearance, job protections, eviction protections, health care). Give me a break – more importantly give her a break.

  22. Great article, but I have to take issue with the comment at the end about “insufficient contact tracing.” It’s my understanding that SF’s Covid contact tracing is exemplary. This is something we’re really good at, and nationally known for, due to our history with communicable diseases like HIV and even before. I think that’s an area where credit is due. No doubt the great work on that front is preventing a ton of infections.

  23. Hey! Look at me trying to get recognition as a writer by trashing a well-known elected official during a crisis!

  24. Thank you Joe for an amazing piece! I have been waiting for someone to call out the disgrace that is forcing our first responders out to Hayward to get COVID 19 testing or contributing to a public health implosion by failing to facilitate social distancing amongst city’s homeless people by housing them in readily available hotel rooms where they can self isolate! Let’s not forget the absurd assertion by city officials that the sudden closing of City Hall on March 25th had nothing to do with two SF Sheriff’s deputies assigned to City Hall testing positive for COVID 19 just hours earlier. As one of the hundreds of City Hall staffers who was never informed of the City Hall Sheriff deputies testing positive, I have found the mainstream media’s overly flattering portrait of Mayor Breed’s leadership during the pandemic misleading at best. Thank you for all your good work to expose the truth.

    1. One of the salient points I took away from the Atlantic article which remains undisputed

      Breed declaring a state of emergency on Feb. 25 was a move that has aged well.

      My takeaway also was that this was done not because Breed is exceptional but because she actually LISTENS TO EXPERTS

      It is abundantly clear in the Atlantic that the people informing her decisions were the experts like Colfax.

      We need leaders who do not pretend to be the smartest in the room, who surround themselves with experts and are willing to make unpopular decisions.

      Your piece speaks a lot of truth. It loses some credibility by focusing on the blame game.

  25. We won’t stop and WE HAVE NO CHOICE BUT TO SURVIVE .I REALLY believed that London breed would make a difference .. as a woman I have no beef with her .. as mayor I have the right to declare WAR against her .
    First : Because I don’t believe she handled this situation well at all . But thank you for the way you did handle this cause it shows ur true colors .
    Second ; she isn’t strong enough to lead a city .
    Third : She is not SOLID .her personal opinion disrupts her professional decicsion ,making ..
    Fourth : she intentionally risked many lives during this pandemic failing to provide profound leadership to the most vulnerable population .
    Regardless of how the mayor and society see the homeless .. HOMELESS PEOPLE and their hardships provide good paying jobs for people that claim they help us . .people are able to live good and raises their kids off of these people’s misfortune . DPW complains about homeless people trashing out all over the place gives city workers reason to ,disrespecti them and sprayi them with water
    The open drug use is also distasteful and the smell of a homeless person who is kicking dope . Human waste out on the streets ,needles , crazy people walking around the city naked and all other type of mental stuff . Sleeping on the sidewalks living I. Broken abandon cars looking like some dam hillbilly’s .
    Without these trashy people DPW wouldn’t ha e the need for half of their street cleaning teams . Neither would there be a need for new shelter projects or shelter staff , advocates program directors , counsellors , drug rehabs , mentors , bathroom attendants .out reach , affordable housing . Second chance programs , you see what im trying to say here ? Homelessness is more helpful to those then it is harmful to the homeless individually . See people have good intentions to help , sometime when people see that the help coming in for the homeless an go a long way , they start cutting back on our actual needs until ? ? Homelessness can’t be stopped by anyone with good intentions as one of life’s experiences it will not ever cease to exist . But that is what people are looking for that want to help the homeless , end homelessness . . It’s up to the individual to make that choice to end their experience in homelessness once they make the choice to end it . It will end . Then everything else will help close it’s doors .like strong resources .. look it’s really a drag being homeless no one wants to grow up and be homeless . This wasn’t a plan for my life .. it was a wrong turn ..nobody is perfect . Unless you are perfect in every way then you can cast STONES ..all this money the city revie es in monetary donations and government funding aside of city budget . And the extra millions the city takes from general funds to provide resources for us . There should be no way in hell we sitting out here during a PANDEMIC with no guidance , safety , or supplies . In order to be able to protect ourselves at the same time we don’t want to infect anyone else we got to do our part to slow this spread amongst all of us . But that’s not the way this went down . Our mayor did not save the lives of her residents . She did nothing heroric to flatten anything but her hair. What she did do was discrimate and violated our rights . Everyday I hear here stay at home order and think ? Dam she really don’t give a dam , NEWS FLASH not all homeless people are drug addicts . More and more are becoming more to their senses especially since this lockdown . Blam the mayor the next time you want to blame homeless ..she gets all that money for us but don’t do shit for us .. so when this is over , we gonna take it to the box . And demand our fair share .
    Bottom line .. mayor London breed failed to protect the most vulnerable population and disadvanced communities of San Francisco . This must be taken into consideration and must be heard by higher authority . A human life is a human life wether you like it or not .. it will be dealt with it .

  26. Let’s look at this from a statistical and scientific POV. The virus started in Nov in Wuhan, if not earlier. It is a highly contagious virus where one person can infect 4-6 people, yet most people are asymptomatic or have only mild symptons (ie never reported). Now lets look at travel patterns Nov-Jan before any travel restrictions were imposed. Of all the travelers from China to US Nov-Jan, most came to CA. Of those, most came to the SF Bay Area. Hundreds of thousands in total during the period, yet none were tested. Do the math. The virus was in the Bay Area much earlier than thought, and in much larger numbers. The shelter in place orders that began March 16 have helped to suppress some of the infections, but not the complete picture. Much of Bay Area was already infected, some got sick, many didn’t, most never went to the hospital, developed immunity, and they never knew it. Look forward to antibody testing.

  27. It’s funny how the people who criticize Breed for her handling of the virus are the same people who criticized her before it.

    The majority who happily elected her are also happy with her handling, for the reasons given in The Atlantic article, and more.

    This is really just political opportunism.

    1. Hi Allen.

      Willie Brown was the first black mayor of San Francisco.

      Thanks for reading,

      JE

      1. Touche, but you’re saying the comment is one stray word away from accuracy? Not a great look.

      2. Let’s edit that, because the implication of white and/or male privilege is still important to address: “A white man attacking the first black female mayor of San Francisco. What a surprise.” It puzzles me why so many of our city’s progressive leaders are white males: Peskin, Preston, Haney, Boudin. Not that there is anything wrong with any of those individuals being white and male, but collectively it represents a problem that needs to be addressed.

  28. Why don’t we just purchase the hotels using the city funds and house the homeless folks in there permanently? I assume that’s what people on here are really angling for, given that it’s not exactly safe or healthy to be living on the streets doing drugs or suffering from untreated mental illness with or without Covid going around. I don’t really see a rationale for removing them once they move in, and I’m sure that will be the next fight once they get moved in, so maybe we should just decide that ahead of time.

    1. Dennis — 

      I don’t think that’s feasible even in the best of times. But you are hitting on an important point: If the city places thousands of homeless people into hotels, eventually it’ll have to remove them. I have to believe this is an impediment.

      JE

      1. Are the police going to go room by room and force people out? It’s my understanding that guests legally become tenants after about a month and it confers a bunch of housing rights which is why many hotels and Airbnbs limit your length of continuous stay. I wonder what condition the rooms would be in after a few months of housing this demographic along with their possessions and pets. What would it cost to refurbish the rooms afterwards and who would pay for it? (I definitely pity the room cleaners)

        Seems like more trouble than it’s worth trying to force them out (not to mention a PR nightmare) and these would just be converted into a modern version of SROs. I’m supportive, but we should go into this eyes wide open.

  29. So obviously the intent of this article is to say London Breed does not deserve the credit she is getting for issuing the first shelter in place order in the nation with results that appear to be quite successfully at stemming a covid-19 explosion that could have overwhelmed our health care system. It could easily be assumed that she was in coordination with health officials across the Bay Area to make the announcement. Perhaps there is truth in her jumping the gun on what she knew was coming to grab the torch for the shelter in place movement. However, your article has a lot of ‘said one county official from over the bridge’ and ‘other counties’ elected and appointed officials have grumbled quietly’. If they’re so quiet about it, how do you know this information? Did they tell you and ask to remain anonymous? Have they given this information to other media sources? Inquiring minds want to know before we grab torches and head to city hall.

    As for what could be the true intent of your article, to highlight the sub-par action to get the homeless population isolated in hotels, I’d argue that it is not an easy problem to deal with and everyone knew it. Try as we may, the homeless problem continues to confound our society and nobody has the magic solution to solve it since like….the beginning of time. It’s not easy and a global pandemic complicates the matter greatly. Surely, there are homeless being housed in hotels currently. Did you research to find out about the efforts and what the numbers are or are you just venting that since every homeless person does not currently have a key to a room at the Fairmount, that our city’s efforts are an utter failure.

    And as for Laguna Honda, this represents another area of concern without easy answers, how to prevent outbreaks in nursing homes full of vulnerable population. Testing and contact tracing is at utmost importance and we are failing as is our entire nation at this: health care workers, other first responders, those working in essential services, and yes, the homeless need to be prioritized over others. From what I gather, this is in line with city’s strategy.

    Not sure you needed to write a hit job on Breed to get your point across, but yeah you did it anyway.

    1. “So obviously the intent of this article is to say London Breed does not deserve the credit she is getting for issuing the first shelter in place order in the nation…”

      Mayor Breed did not issue the first shelter-in-place order in the nation.

      This was in my article. Hard to miss.

      That was your first sentence.

      JE

  30. Seems like there are a lot of non San Francisco residents with opinions but nothing to go on what is read in the news shame on everyone of you. Yes she did shit down the city on her own she has made multiple actions to insure the as much safety from the virus as possible. You can’t make people stay home, I work with the homeless population in SF. They know the truth.

  31. Uh, as a local news outlet your reporting is shotty if not, downright poorly informed. You may not like Mayor Breed, but she declared state of emergency on 2/25/2020! So get your damn timelines straight. Also, why don’t you report that there are lots of fools refusing care and help, even though we, the taxpayers, are front hotel rooms at almost 200/ night. If you want to be credible as a news outlet be just another crazies ultra left propaganda machine then at least present all of the facts!

  32. One of the most small-minded, petty political pieces I have ever read. All of the mayors clearly worked closely with the health directors in deciding to issue the orders. The heath directors are the ones with the statutory power to issue the orders but they never would have done so without the agreement of the mayors. Reports are that 7,000 hotel rooms now available for homeless and health care providers. It is fine to disagree with the Mayor’s pace and priorities in responding to the COVID19 crisis. But this article smacks of the petty pissing matches between Cuomo and De Blasio in New York and, like that foolish petty political foolishness, gets in the way of finding solutions. You think the Mayor should do better, great. I don’t disagree with some of that, but I think you should also do better.

  33. It is a virus, most of you have already had it. The overreach is the most harmful thing about it. Congrats on stoning the cancer patient to cure the disease. We’d be near the same place in deaths and way better financially if you did not wet the bed.

  34. The only thing this article is missing is someone pounding on a table that shouting, “connect the dots!” Incoherent at best. Please rewrite this so that it makes sense from the beginning.

  35. Your tagline is “local news for a GLOBAL city”. Somewhat true, because your perspective is that of a petty, small-minded gadfly for indeed a global-thinking mayor and a global city. Why do you need to write an entire article taking down London Breed’s good work on the COVID19 crisis? Yes, perhaps she has done a good job self-promoting the successes, but she is, at the end of the day, a politician. Politicians SELF-PROMOTE. As do publications that try to write clickbait worthy stories. Those are just the realities of life, and I accept both phenomena. London Breed has done an incredible job being the leader in the Bay Area – has it occurred to you that perhaps she pulled the other counties into action along with her? Her call to declare of a state of emergency was a good clarion call, and it led to the subsequent actions. Would anyone have batted an eyelash if the County of San Mateo called for “Shelter in Place”? No. But people listen when San Francisco does something. So she bit the bullet and made a call that, thankfully for her political fortunes, was correct. Be a big person and write something positive.

  36. What Breed did is show leadership, something sorely lacking by many of our so-called elected leaders from the top down. The captain of a ship relies upon the crew to make it function as efficiently as possible; what you’ve done, Mr. Eskenazi,, Is parse out the various aspects of what makes a ship run and claim that the captain had nothing to do with that functioning. Breed is the captain of this San Francisco ship, and considering the rabidity of Covid-19 and the poor-decisions made in many quarters of the US, I’d say Breed has done her job to show leadership; the numbers are your litmus test Mr. Ashkenazi. If you want a story of poor leadership, why don’t you ask the director of MSC-south why San Francisco firefighters responding to MSC for a medical call were berated for wearing protective equipment. This was well before the infections spiked at MSC.
    Not sure of the intent of your piece while we San Franciscans are in the midst of a crisis, but it seems to me firing torpedoes of doubt are a little premature -save them for when we’re out of this.

  37. Until the mid-1970s, San Francisco General Assistance would cover a modest dwelling, although sometimes a very poor one. Relief of destitution was mandated by state law if so often honored only in the breach. I saw far fewer people living on the streets then, and those who did had an easier time finding somewhere to hide.

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