Good morning, Mission, and welcome to Virus Village, your (somewhat regular) Covid-19 data dump.

Numbers continue to trend downwards as the citywide seven-day average daily positivity rate dips to its lowest level since July 3.

In a breathless headline last month, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: New population figures change what we thought we knew about COVID in San Francisco The article went on to report that San Francisco’s Department of Public Health uses dated population figures when reporting on neighborhood case and vaccination rates. Probably the same applies to age groups. Does this change what we know about how covid is affecting SF? To some degree, but not all that much. Given the lack of adequate data collection and reporting systems, at best, the numbers we report in our covid tracker help provide a general picture of the local virus spread.

In addition, the numbers (provided to the public) are valuable for watching trends (such as last year’s testing debacle) and suggesting questions, but don’t expect answers, and certainly not certainty.

The real problem is the lack of key indicators provided by DPH, especially hospitalization demographics. The fear of hospital overload has driven much of the covid policies, yet DPH provides no demographic data whatsoever on hospitalizations. Nor are we given the cumulative number of hospitalizations, so we never know the infection/hospitalization rate and if it has changed over time. Did The Vaccine provoke a “decoupling” of cases from hospitalizations? We can only guess. And it doesn’t help that, for more than a month, DPH has “temporarily paused” reporting on the vaccination status of those hospitalized.

Contact tracing is another black hole, inviting many to ask whether DPH actually does contact tracing.

Recently it has begun to appear that racial and ethnic minorities are more vulnerable to breakthrough infections. But this is data not reported, or apparently tracked, locally or nationally.

Probably the main argument for mass boosterism (pushed by Big Pharma) is data that shows a waning of the antibodies produced by The Vaccine. Some have argued that this concern has been overblown. Now some argue that “waning antibodies” are not only a natural and expected phenomenon, but may actually help, rather than hinder, long term immunity.

CalOHSA is debating whether or not to extend a mandate to pay those workers who get sick with covid or who must quarantine because of exposure. Why is this a debate? And will the agency enforce whatever it mandates?

Scroll down for today’s covid numbers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control data used for the chart lags behind the data supplied from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. As of Oct. 20, DPH reports more than 89 percent of all San Francisco residents over 12 have received one dose, and 83 percent are completely vaccinated. For those over 65, better than 90 percent are fully vaccinated. New vaccinations, though low, keep on truckin’. On Oct. 20, the seven-day rolling average of shots per day was 196. For information on where to get vaccinated in and around the Mission, visit our Vaccination Page.

On Oct. 16, DPH reports there were 50 covid hospitalizations, or about 5.7 per 100,000 (based on an 874,000 population).  DPH has not reported breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths since Sept. 17.  According to the CDC, there were 39 new admissions for the seven days ending Oct. 19  (-9.30 percent from the previous seven days). For the week ending Oct. 19, covid patients accounted for 2.58 percent of hospital beds (no change from the previous week) and 5.62 percent of ICU beds (-.92 percent from the previous week).   As of Oct. 18, the CDC says that, of more than 189 million vaccinated U.S. residents, 41,127 patients with a covid vaccine breakthrough infection were hospitalized or died (though 26 percent were either aymptomatic or not covid related). Note: 85 percent of the deaths and 66 percent of the non-fatal hospitalizations were among those 65 and older.

The latest report from the federal Department of Health and Human Services shows Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with 6 covid patients and 7 ICU beds available, while across the Mission, CPMC had 5 covid patients and 5 ICU beds available. Of 59 reported covid patients, 30 were at either SFGH or UCSF, with at least 76 ICU beds available among reporting hospitals. The California DPH says there are 80 ICU beds available in San Francisco. SFDPH won’t say.

Between Aug. 18 and Oct. 17, DPH recorded 364 new cases in the Mission for a rate of 62 new cases per 10,000 residents. Over that period, DPH recorded 457 new cases in Bayview Hunters Point or 121 new cases per 10,000 residents. SOMA remains the only other neighborhood with new case rates above 100 per 10,000 residents and only 4 other neighborhoods (Chinatown, Treasure Island, Tenderloin and Western Addition) have rates over 80 per 10,000 residents.  

On October 14, the 7-day average of daily new cases in the City was 53, or approximately 6.1 new cases per day per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population).  The 7-day average case rate among vaccinated residents was 5.2 per 100,000 fully vaccinated residents  and for unvaccinated residents  9.5 per unvaccinated 100,000 residents.  

So far in October, White San Franciscans had 365 recorded infections, or 38.5 percent of October cases; Asians 230 or 24.3 percent, Latinxs 158 or 16.7 percent, Blacks 63 or 6.7 percent, Multi-racials 20 or 2.1 percent, Pacific Islanders 9 or 1 percent and Native Americans had 0 recorded infections or 0 percent of the month’s cases.

So far in October, Pacific Islanders have a 2.6 percent positivity rate, Latinxs 1.8 percent, Whites 1.6 percent, Blacks 1.6 percent, Multi-racials 1.5 percent, and Asians 1.3 percent. Note: Above, DPH reported 0 October cases among Native Americans. Here DPH reports 14 October cases among Native Americans with a positivity rate of 4.7 percent

Covid-related deaths in San Francisco have always been among the most ambiguous numbers. It’s even worse now as the City no longer provides a definition of what constitutes a covid (or covid-related) death. Four new deaths have been recorded in October  bringing the Delta total so far  (August – October) to 74  and the cumulative covid-related death toll to 650. September and October numbers should be considered “less reliable” meaning updates are likely. For over a month, DPH has “temporarily paused” reporting the vaccination status of covid-related deaths.

Covid R Estimation lowered its San Francisco R Number to .90 and revised its  estimate for the California R number up to .99.   The ensemble raised its average for the  San Francisco R number to 77 and its California R Number average to  .87. No model in the ensemble currently estimates San Francisco transmissibility above .9.

So far in October, San Franciscans 0-4 years of age have recorded 26 new cases for 2.7 percent of new cases this month; 5-10: 61 new cases, 6.4 percent, 11-13: 20 new cases, 2.1 percent, 14-17: 17 new cases, 1.8 percent, 18-20:10 new cases, 1.1 percent, 21-24: 52 new cases, 5.5 percent, 24-29: 134 new cases 14.1 percent, 30-39: 229 new cases, 24.2 percent, 40-49: 123 new cases, 13 percent, 50-59: 127 new cases, 13.4 percent, 60-69: 86 new cases, 9.1 percent, 70-79: 44 new cases, 4.6 percent, 80 +: 18 new cases 1.9 percent.

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

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  1. “Recently it has begun to appear that racial and ethnic minorities are more vulnerable to breakthrough infections. But this is data not reported, or apparently tracked, locally or nationally.”

    The CDC tracks breakthrough infections after 3, 6, 9 and 12 months through the (voluntary) V-Safe program, which includes a question about race/ethnicity in the first survey (day of 1st vaccination).

    1. Thanks 21five for the comment. I could be wrong, and frequently am, but I believe Vsafe is a self reporting system, that does not track racial or socio-economic status on breakthroughs. Despite collecting Vsafe data, CDC does not report breakthrough infections unless they result in hospitalizations and deaths which do not include racial, ethnic, or socio-economic breakdowns. Covid Tracker has provided these reports to its readers.

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