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

Case counts took another jump over the weekend, while hospitalizations stayed in the mid-30s. As formal testing has increased, the positivity rate stays below 2, while the R Number models for San Francisco suggest increasing spread.

Omicron, of course, has been the main topic of covid conversation.

Although most early reports from South Africa and Europe describe a rapidly spreading virus with mild or no symptoms, it’s really too early to tell. In the UK, where cases are rapidly piling up, there have been hospitalizations and at least one death. Class clown Boris Johnson has told everyone to get boosters, which crashed the National Health Service website.

The flood of speculation has become, naturally, confusing. Much of the problem seems rooted in the way the media uses the word “immunity.” Here is a thread which explains the difference, most of which Covid Tracker followers will recognize.

Communications has not been a public-health strong suit during the pandemic. In a country saturated in advertising and propaganda, it is jaw-dropping that, after almost two years, public health officials still can’t figure it out.

The utter failure to provide vaccination for the world, especially the most vulnerable, stands out as one of the most egregious failures in the history of the pandemic. And it’s not just this pandemic; ignoring HIV in southern Africa has most likely contributed to the emergence and spread of omicron.

Chronic understaffing at hospitals that serve covid patients (not all do, as we’ve seen in SF) is taking a well-known toll. There’s an obvious fix (not quick) to this problem, and it’s not a “normal” to which we would wish to aspire.

Rapid testing, if used, should help contain the spread over the holidays. Colorado is doing what the feds should be doing, by making the tests rapidly available. I have heard that a similar program is underway in Bayview Hunters Point, thanks to community organizations and UCSF doctor Kim Rhoads.

A tidal wave of infections? Hospitals overwhelmed? Maybe in cosmopolitan hotspots like San Francisco. In other areas of the country, some of our fellow Americans consider the covid crisis as abstract and remote as “a coup in Myanmar.”

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 Dec. 12, DPH reports more than 86 percent of all San Francisco residents have received one dose, and 79 percent have received two. For residents 5 and older, DPH reports the figures rise above 90 percent and above 83 percent. SFDPH reports that as of Dec. 7, approximately 264,189 residents have received a COVID-19 booster dose including 64 percent of residents 65 and over. For information on where to get vaccinated in and around the Mission, visit our Vaccination Page.

On Dec. 9, DPH reports there were 34 covid hospitalizations, or about 3.9 per 100,000 (based on an 874,000 population), approximately the same level it’s been at for the past seven days of reporting. ICU patients remains in single digits. DPH has released no new information on hospitalizations among what used to be considered “fully vaxxed” for over two months, saying it halted reports “because we are analyzing the data to ensure accuracy.” For September data see the latest from DPH.

The latest report from the federal Department of Health and Human Services shows Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with 3 covid patients and 6 ICU beds available, while across the Mission, CPMC had 5 covid patients and 5 ICU beds available. Of 31 reported covid patients, 19 were at either SFGH or UCSF, with at least 77 ICU beds available among reporting hospitals (which does not include the Veterans Administration). The California DPH currently reports  77 ICU beds available in San Francisco. SFDPH won’t say.

Note: DPH uses dated population figures for neighborhoods. Between Oct. 9 and Dec. 8, DPH recorded 233 cases in the Mission or a rate of approximately 40 per 10,000 residents. During that period, Sunset/Parkside had the most cases (249), but it’s rate was 30 per 10,000. Of 38 neighborhoods, 17 had rates of 40 or more per 10,000 residents. The Marina leads with a rate of 69 per 10,000 residents, the only neighborhood in excess of 60.

On Dec. 5, the 7-day average of daily new cases in the City was 79 (an increase of 10 over the weekend) or approximately 9 new cases per day per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population). The 7-day average case rate among vaccinated (not boosted) residents was 8.0 per 100,000 vaccinated residents and for unvaccinated residents,  16.1 per 100,000 unvaccinated residents.

We won’t have December figures until the 20th at the earliest, and DPH refuses to tell us who, and how many have been hospitalized. Among residents that have completed their primary vaccine series, about 47 percent of White residents have received a booster dose, Asians 40 percent, Blacks 29 percent, Latinxs 26 percent, Native Americans 26 percent, and about 23 percent of Pacific Islanders have received the booster.

Holidays are for testing. As of December 5, DPH reports a 7-day rolling average of tests collected from the City and private providers (not rapid home tests) was 5,663, a substantial increase from six days earlier.

Another December covid-related death has been reported, raising the total to 679. To “ensure accuracy,” DPH has not updated deaths among vaccinated and unvaccinated since September. Of those San Franciscans who died of covid-related deaths, approximately 3 percent had no underlying conditions.

All models are currently showing the San Francisco R Number over 1.   Covid R Estimation has kept its San Francisco R Number at a relatively high 1.29 and lowered its California R Number estimate to .99. The ensemble has slightly lowered its average for the  San Francisco R Number to 1.09, approximately the same as the average California R Number. For more on modeling, check out this article on the model produced by a Bernal Heights resident. The model is one of the ensemble and a favorite with DPH.

Although there’s been a recent change in case and death data among population groups in SF, over the course of the pandemic, racial and ethnic minorities remain hardest hit by the virus. As of Dec. 5, Pacific Islanders have a case rate (based on the group’s popuation) of 2,318 per 10,000 residents, Latinxs 1,401, Native Americans 1,089, Blacks 959, Whites 421 and Asians 334 per 10,000 residents.

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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. Will be super interesting to see the positivity rate 10 days from now in the Marina – after SantaCon this weekend….great case study material. Everything seemed pretty much pre-covid with all sorts of places PACKED out and no masks, obviously the masks aren’t required with proof of vax, so none of this was “against the rules” – will love to see how this impacts hospitalizations give the younger/lower-risk-of-hospitalization/death demographic.

  2. Thanks for linking to Laurie Garrett’s excellent piece about the link between omicron and allowing HIV to spread unchecked in Southern Africa.

    I highly recommend her Twitter feed to anyone who’s looking for links to more smart, up-to-date pieces examining the latest in Covid in the U.S. and around the world.

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