Good morning Mission. And welcome to Virus Village, your daily data dump.
Hang on boys and girls, it’s going to be a rough ride.
Dr. Grant Colfax, the City’s Public Health Director, has just finished a press conference in which he warned the exponential rise in new infections and hospitalizations in recent weeks means “we are in a major surge of COVID-19. The virus is moving fast.”
Colfax also warned of a “huge surge“ in hospitalizations. We have a new hospital graph which shows the shrinking availability of hospital beds.
Colfax’ warning comes in the wake of a reported increase in positive case totals as 226 more cases were added along with one new death. We haven’t seen numbers like that since April.
Remember these 226 cases are not from tests taken yesterday, but are results from tests taken over the past few days.
Has testing increased dramatically as well? No. The average number of daily tests has been declining since July 16. There has been more targetted testing in the Mission and Bayview-Hunters Point which has an effect, but does not nearly account for the growth in cases.
Scroll down for today’s numbers.
HiGeorge, a data visualization startup, developed some new visualizations for Mission Local, which we will be using and fine-tuning in the days to come.
Our new graph shows the worrisome problem Colfax announced. If numbers approach anywhere near the numbers Colfax is projecting, our hospitals could easily be overwhelmed. Note, the numbers are the same from yesterday. No updates yet from DPH.
An additional 14 cases were added to the Mission, raising our total to 925.
Again, using the “more reliable” test results (meaning tests taken on those dates are more or less complete), the average number of new tests as of July 23 is around 98. Readers have asked if the Health Department is “playing games” with the figures. No. What we see is a result of the time it takes to get a swab from the nostril to the lab and then to the DPH dataset. This is an artifact of a weak testing infrastructure which is one reason the City has not been able to get the virus under control.
Positivity rates may look like they are flattening, but if so, they are “flattening” on a relatively high plateau. The average positivity rate in SF since late March has been 3 percent.
The R number estimate remains around 1.25 in San Francisco as it has been. R numbers have been falling in other Bay Area counties which is a relatively good sign. But overall, the number confirms Colfax’ warning: the virus continues to spread exponentially.
The Chronicle also had a piece about “low” death rates, with a number of explanations and theories for why this might be showing up. However, if the hospitals get overrun, you can throw all that out the window; the rate and the absolute number of deaths is going to shoot up. Colfax warned deaths could reach 600 by the end of the year.