Good morning, Mission, and welcome to Virus Village, your (somewhat regular) Covid-19 data dump.
Hospitalizations, positivity rates and recorded infections continue in steep decline. R Number models show San Francisco in a range from .65 to 1.28, with an average still among the highest in the state.
The rise in political and social ambiguity so far in the 21st century has been driven largely by digital technology, the “war on terror,” and politicians like former Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump. The pandemic added a whole new personal layer and the “post-omicron” surge doesn’t suggest more certain days ahead.
Although some think “it’s over,” covid may have other ideas. Last year, the virus outwitted our slow, stumbling public health and political authorities, who relied mainly on miracles. By the end of the year, the spiky microbe had infected and killed more people in 2021 than in 2020. And there’s no indication that it has met its match. Here’s an explanation for why omicron is so contagious, and here are some possible scenarios for 2022. Instead of taking a victory lap, shouldn’t San Francisco’s Department of Public Health begin preparations for the future now?
In late 2020, a group of right-wing libertartian doctors put out “The Great Barrington Declaration,” calling for no public health interventions to control the disease, save for unspecified measures “to protect the most vulnerable.” The post-omicron call to relax or eliminate public health interventions is no longer confined to the fringe. But now there are at least specific ways proposed to protect the vulnerable. While focusing on expensive drugs that are in short supply, necessary measures, such as global vaccination, improved ventilation/filtration of indoor air, and support for isolation/recovery, are not included.
A few billionaires would be able to fund global vaccination, but so far no-one has stood up. Here’s what the global vaccination picture looks like.
The Vaccine is great, but not if people don’t get vaccinated. Vaccination uptake among the elderly, especially in the U.S., has been surprisingly low.
While most commentators focus on protecting the elderly and immunocompromised, little is said about protecting low-income residents and racial minorities. It’s difficult when Google algorithms don’t approve of health equity advocates discussing “racism.”
What protections will be proposed when the Public Health Emergency lapses, which will kick 15 million off of Medicaid?
Scroll down for today’s covid numbers.
As of Feb. 15, DPH reports 782,298 residents have been vaccinated, more than 89 percent of all San Francisco residents have received one dose, and over 83 percent have received two. For residents 5 and older, DPH reports the figures rise above 90 percent and above 86 percent while for those 65 and older over 90 percent have received two doses. SFDPH reports that as of Feb. 15, approximately 466,109 SF residents (65 percent of all residents, 82 percent of residents 65 and older) have received a COVID-19 booster dose.
For information on where to get vaccinated in and around the Mission, visit our Vaccination Page.
On Feb. 12, DPH reports there were 159 covid hospitalizations, or about 18.1 covid hospitalizations per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population). Today, the California Department of Public Health reports 167 covid patients in SF hospitals and 40 ICU patients. Unlike it’s counterparts in New York, Seattle — even Los Angeles — DPH cannot report how many covid patients are vaxxed and how many unvaxxed since September 1. This failure, both simple and spectacular, does not bode well for the future of public health in San Francisco.
The latest report from the federal Department of Health and Human Services shows Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with 25 covid patients and 6 ICU beds available, while across the Mission, CPMC had 20 covid patients and 2 ICU beds available. Of 225 reported covid patients, 96 were at either SFGH or UCSF, with at least 67 ICU beds available among reporting hospitals (which does not include the Veterans Administration). The California DPH currently reports 91 ICU beds available in San Francisco. Note: The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a scathing report for sustained public health crisis failures at HHS. The failures cited include “collecting and analyzing data to inform decisionmaking.”
Omicron revived SF’s standard pandemic pattern, hitting the lower socioeconomic sectors of the City the hardest. Between Dec. 13 and Feb. 11, DPH recorded 4439 new infections among Mission residents or 755 new infections per 10,000 residents. Bayview Hunters Point had the highest number of recorded new infections (4610) with a rate of 1216 new infections per 10,000 residents. Of 38 neighborhoods, 14 had rates above 700 per 10,000 residents, 13 in the east and southeast sectors of the City. Seacliff had the lowest rate with 379 new infections per 10,000 residents and Lakeshore, the only neighborhood in the City with a vaccination rate below 50 percent, had the second-lowest rate at 432 new infections per 10,000 residents.
DPH reports on Feb. 8, the 7-day average of daily new infections recorded in the City was 339 (finally lower than last winter’s peak) or approximately 38.7 new infections per day per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population). According to DPH, the 7-day average infection rate among vaccinated residents was 33.2 per 100,000 “fully vaccinated” residents and 92.5 per 100,000 unvaccinated residents. It is unclear whether “fully vaccinated” includes boosters or the infection rate among those vaccinated with 2 doses.
In January, DPH reports Asians had 25.5 percent of the month’s total, up from 19.7 percent in December; Latinxs had 21.6 percent, up from 18.4 percent, Whites had 20 percent, down from 33.4 percent; Blacks 5.8 percent, up from 4.7 percent, Multi-racials had 1 percent, down from 1.2 percent, Pacific Islanders had 1 percent, the same, and Native Americans had .2 percent of January’s total, down from .3 percent in December.
In January, DPH reports San Francisco’s Latinx residents had a positivity rate of 22.4 percent, up from 10.7 percent in December; Pacific Islanders 22.1 percent, up from 12 percent; Blacks 20.2 percent, up from 9.2 percent; Multi-racials 17.9 percent, up from 9.2 percent; Native American 17.8 percent, up from 10.2 percent; Asians 14 percent, up from 6.6 percent; and White San Franciscans had a January positivity rate of 12 percent, up from 8.4 percent in December.
Six new covid-related deaths recorded in January and seven in February have raised the local covid death toll to 68 since the beginning of the year. Probably most are related to omicron. DPH won’t say how many were vaxxed and how many unvaxxed. According to DPH “COVID-19 deaths are suspected to be associated with COVID-19. This means COVID-19 is listed as a cause of death or significant condition on the death certificate.” Using a phrase like “suspected to be associated with” indicates the difficulty in determining a covid death. The ambiguity is heightened when currently it is unknown whether or not 34.5 percent of the deaths had one or more underlying conditions. As of Feb. 9, DPH continues to report only 21 of the 761 deaths are known to have had no underlying conditions, or comorbidities.
Covid R Estimation has kept its San Francisco R Number estimate at 1.07, and its California R Number at .52. The ensemble lowered its average San Francisco R Number to .83 and raised its average California R Number to .66. Of all models, the SF R Number ranges from .65 to 1.28.
During the course of the pandemic, San Franciscans aged 0-20 had 0 covid-related deaths, or 0 percent of the total; 21-29 3 deaths, or .4 percent; 30-39 12 deaths, or 1.6 percent; 40-49 29 deaths, or 3.8 percent; 50-59 54 deaths or 7.1 percent; 60-69 113 deaths or 14.8 percent; 70-79 141 deaths or 18.5 percent; and those San Franciscans 80 and older suffered 409 deaths or 53.7 percent of all San Franciscan covid-related deaths, even though they had just 2.3 percent of the City’s recorded infections.