Covid tracker, R Number

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

An R Number over 1, along with small ticks upward in case numbers and positivity rates appear to signal an approaching surge. How high and how severe are still open to question. Though most epidemiologists are relatively optimistic, our favorite pessimist, Dr. Michael Osterholm says “If you wanted to put all the viral ingredients in one big mixing bowl to cause them to transmit in ways that would be very damaging to us, do what we’re doing right now.”

From the tweets of our favorite optimist, Dr. Monica Gandhi, more evidence that the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines work against variants. And the CDC concedes viral transmission after vaccination should be very rare.

Some good news on the treatment front here and here.

We like to blame Trump for the mess the U.S. has made of controlling the virus, and we know that ever since the Reagan years, public health has been decimated. But let’s give some credit to the Bush-Obama Global War on Terrorism. The money for that fiasco had to come from somewhere.

Speaking of government waste, ever wonder why are there so few trash cans in SF? Shhh. Don’t tell the pro-recall people.

Meet Gregorio Castañeda, a street vendor who won’t let fear stop him.

While waiting for The Vaccination, scroll down for today’s Covid numbers.

The California Immunization Registry data system continues to undercount vaccinations. As of March 27, over  43 percent (330,978) of San Francisco residents over 16 had received one dose, while  23 percent (174,731) had received two.  On March 27, the seven-day rolling average of shots per day was 9,265.  The DPH goal is 10,000 shots a day. For information on where to get vaccinated in and around the Mission, visit our Vaccination Page.

If the R Number is any indicator, buckle up, we’re  headed back to Surge City.  Covid-19 R Estimation puts the San Francisco R Number at  1.06, over 1 for the first time since January 8. The ensemble brings together models which estimate San Francisco’s R Number anywhere from .63 to 1.11 for an average of  .8.  Most models agree that California’s R Number remains a bit above  .8 (except for one which estimates it at .51). 

Between February 25 and March 26,  DPH added 100 new cases to the Mission or a rate of  16.8 new cases per 10,000 residents. The Citywide rate for that month was 11.8 new cases per 10,000 residents, and no other neighborhood in the City had more than 70 new cases.  Since the pandemic began, the Mission has the highest number of total cases with 4018, but Bayview Hunters Point has far and away the highest rate with 1001.2 cases per 10,000 residents. Eleven neighborhoods in the City’s southeast sector have rates above 400 cases per 10,000 residents. All other neighborhoods have less than 400.

For the week ending March 21, the seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in the City was  31 or 3.6 new cases per day per 100,000 residents

Vaccinations are ramping up, but not fast enough, especially among those most vulnerable

It’s too late for vaccinations to stop a variant surge, but more vaccinations may be enough to keep hospitalizations and deaths down.  For the week ending March 27, the rate of weekly change in Covid positive patients fell 24 percent.   During that week,  the seven-day average availability of ICU beds was 34 percent and Acute Care availability was 24 percent. On March 27, Covid patients occupied approximately  2 percent of available ICU  and Acute Care beds. DPH says capacity for a potential surge is at 100 percent in ICU and 98 percent in Acute Care.

According to most recent data from the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, last week SFGH had 5 Covid patients and 73 percent ICU occupancy.  Across the Mission CPMC had 6 Covid patients and 76 percent ICU occupancy.

Between March 1 and March 26, Latinx residents had a 2.14 percent positivity rate, Pacific Islanders 1.99 percent, Blacks 1.17 percent, Multi-racials .83 percent, Whites .79 percent, Asians .69 percent and Native Americans 0

Another new record low positivity rate for California!

With cases at a very low level for an extended period, we would expect the contact tracing program, which had such remarkable relative success during the surge, would be doing extremely well. Sadly, that’s not the case. For the two weeks ending March 19, City tracers have reportedly interviewed 84 percent of the positive cases and reached 84 percent of their contacts, numbers that are in line with the standard numbers recorded since last June.

Since last year, the Mission has suffered  47 Covid-related deaths, the most in the City. Other neighborhoods impacted are Excelsior with 42, Bayview Hunters Point 35, Sunset Parkside 32, Pacific Heights 28 and Tenderloin 25. Most neighborhoods in the City have experienced less than 10 deaths, while Mission Bay, Presidio and Seacliff have 0.

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Mark Rabine has lived in the Mission for over 40 years. "What a long strange trip it's been." He has maintained our Covid tracker through most of the pandemic, taking some breaks with his search for the Mission's best fried-chicken sandwich and now its best noodles. When the Warriors make the playoffs, he writes up his take on the games.

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  1. I’m not understanding how the R rate can increase fairly dramatically while the number of new cases in SF looks pretty much flat?