Photo by Leslie Rabine

Good Morning, Mission! Welcome to Virus Village, your daily Covid-19 data dump.

Last March the Bay Area health directors got together and their cities took decisive action, ordering a shelter-in-place. Now San Francisco is hemming and hawing, trying to make “surgical” decisions based on limited or no data. Shelter-in-place is really the only way to curb the virus, but the federal government refuses to pay to make it work.

The weakness of healthcare for profit has been fully exposed during the pandemic with consistent shortages in PPE, testing supplies, quarantine options, etc. But far worse is the hospital system, which over the years has cut beds and staff to lower costs. Today California hospitals are quickly reaching their limits. The New York Times reports the richest state in the richest country in the world has only 1.8 hospital beds per 1000 residents, one third the number of beds per capita in Poland!

Privatization has its problems in other areas as well. In the wake of the recent scandals emanating from the Department of “Public” Works,  the Board of Supervisors decided to check out the new contract with Recology. Was that 20 percent rate hike based  based on performance, or bribery? Guess.

In a time of viruses and scandals,  burgers may be your best bet.

Scroll down for today’s Covid numbers.

Between October 30 and November 28, the Mission reported a record 355 new cases for a cumulative total of 2125, or 35.6 cases per 1000 residents.

Covid-19 R estimation for California  estimates San Francisco’s R number  to be approximately 1.29 and California’s R number to be around 1.36, the highest in the nation. The ensemble of models estimates California at 1.12 and San Francisco at 1.25. In the absence of decisive public interventions, expect the virus to keep spreading quickly in the coming weeks.

For the week ending November 24, the seven-day average number of Citywide daily cases jumped to 148 or 17 cases per 100,000 residents. In three weeks, the average new case count rose 180 percent.

Despite high numbers, San Francisco hospitals must transfers again. For the week ending November 30, the weekly rate of change in Covid positive patients was 51 percent. During that week DPH reports the seven-day average availability of ICU beds was 34 percent and for Acute Care beds 33 percent. DPH reports SF hospitals have 100 percent of required PPE on hand, but make no mention of staff.

A nightmare in the making.

Record number of tests still result in relatively low positivity rates. Given the number of cases and hospitalizations, it appears the City is not testing  where tests are most needed.

With a flood of new cases, it appears the City’s minimalist (in all but PR) contact tracing operation is floundering. DPH hasn’t reported any data at all on contact tracing since November 6 when it claimed 87 percent of positive cases and 84 percent of their contacts had been reached.

Expect new death numbers to be coming any day now. Perhaps the problem is not the uncertainty of death, but the uncertainty as to cause of death.

Mark Rabine

Mark Rabine has lived in the Mission for over 40 years. "What a long strange trip it's been."

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