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

Recorded infections and positivity rates are rapidly rising, while hospitalizatons rise slowly. R Number estimates confirm increasing circulation of the virus, but wastewater monitoring suggests it might be in retreat.

Welcome to omicron, episode 2. In this episode, though recorded infections are rising, expert celebrities celebrate the pandemic’s demise (or, to be more precise, the “end of the pandemic phase”). Yes, it’s all good. And if you don’t agree (as is your prescribed right in America), you can always wear an N95. Exciting, isn’t it?

The celebrities did not note that increased transmission led to more covid deaths in 2021, despite The Vaccine and less severe variants, or that 15 percent of people who died of Covid-19 in February, 2022, were boosted.

With the future of covid now a matter of personal choice and individual risk analysis, public health agencies such as San Francisco Department of Public Health can get back to …

Speaking of risk analysis, a reader sent in this review of the evidence for airline transmission.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and friends have made a big deal recently about the prevalence of antibodies in American bodies. In the UK, 70 percent of the population has been infected between April, 2020, and February, 2022. What are the consequences?

Instead of haughtily dismissing China’s “zero covid” policies, expert celebrities might show some humility and learn what they (and we) can do about the virus, which is a killer, although many, if not most, of those infected display no symptoms at all. This is just one of the enduring mysteries of the virus. What is happening in China now, involving millions of people in a real-world setting, can never be replicated in this country, and would seem far more informative than computer models. Yes, the work is burdensome, labor-intensive and time-consuming (not to mention screwing up global supply chains), but it may help to supply the key to understanding and controlling the virus. Thanks to the Chinese people.

Asymptomatic covid may “just be a positive test,” but do aysmptomatics transmit? Check out the replies in the thread.

Not only do expert celebrities dismiss China, but they never bother to ask what’s going on in Cuba, where five vaccines have been developed with interesting reported results, like a minimal omicron surge. I understand those vaccines are not of the highest proprietary and profitable technology, so how good can they really be?

The White House has unveiled its latest un-funded covid plan. Looks good, though there is some question about Paxlavoid in pharmacies. Unfortunately, the last point (providing vaccines for the world) is pure propaganda, which undermines the credibility of the plan.

For those who missed it, or could not figure it out from the Chronicle’s report, Cal/OSHA has revised its covid workplace rules. No mention of whether the rules will be enforced.

To end on a cheery note, readers have alerted me that former national covid co-ordinator Dr. Deborah Birx has published a book on her time in the Trump White House. You may think it odd that someone would publicize her silence while her boss lied to the nation and subverted public health at every turn. However, like many before her, Birx leveraged her “public service” and TV persona to cash in as the chief medical and scientific adviser for ActivePure Technology, an air filtration company, a global health fellow at the George W. Bush Institute and a board member of the biopharmaceutical company Innoviva. Congrats, Doc.

Scroll down for today’s covid numbers.

Over the past week, hospitalizations have rose 54 percent (which represents 8 patients) On April 23, DPH reports there were 34 covid hospitalizations, or about 3.9 covid hospitalizations per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population). Covid patients in ICU went up but then dropped back to 2. On April 26, the California Department of Public Health reports 26 covid patients in SF hospitals and 2 ICU patients.

The latest report from the federal Department of Health and Human Services shows Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with 4 covid patients and 7 ICU beds available, while across the Mission, CPMC had 1 covid patient and 6 ICU beds available. Of 38 reported covid patients in the City, 21 were at either SFGH or UCSF, with at least 79 ICU beds available among reporting hospitals (which does not include the Veterans Administration or Laguna Honda). The California DPH currently reports 97 ICU beds available in San Francisco.

The numbers look very similar to last week. Between Feb. 21 and April 22, DPH recorded 421 new infections among Mission residents or 72 new infections per 10,000 residents. During that period, Mission Bay had the highest rate at 143 new infections per 10,000 residents. Of 38 neighborhoods, 7 had rates above 100 per 10,000 residents, with 4 in the east and southeast sectors of the City. Treasure Island had the lowest rate (uncalculated because too low). Outside of Treasure Island, Lakeshore, the only neighborhood in the City with less than 50 percent of its population vaccinated, had the lowest recorded rate 51 per 10,000 residents. The apparent ongoing anomaly with Lakeshore has yet to be explained.

DPH reports on April 12, the 7-day average of daily new infections recorded in the City rose to 181 or approximately 20.6 new infections per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population), representing a 33.1 percent rise from last week. According to DPH, the 7-day average infection rate among vaccinated residents was 19.5 per 100,000 “fully vaccinated” residents and 37.8 per 100,000 unvaccinated residents. It is unclear whether “fully vaccinated” means 2, 3 or 4 doses. The latest report from the New York Times says the 7-day average number on April 26 was 250 a 97 percent rise over the past two weeks. For those interested in wastewater monitoring, see here.

As of April 22, DPH reports 1,104 recorded infections in April among the City’s White population, or 31.4 percent of April’s recorded infections so far; Asians 970 infections or 27.6 percent; Latinxs 351 infections or 10 percent; Blacks 105 infections or 3 percent; Multi-racials 17 infections or .5 percent; Pacific Islanders 13 infections or .4 percent; and Native Americans have recorded 4 new infectons or .1 percent of the City’s infections so far in April.

The 7-day rolling Citywide average positivity rate rose over 25 percent during the past week, while average daily testing rose less than 3 percent. As of April 22, Whites have had an April positivity rate of 6 percent, Asians 5.6 percent, Pacific Islanders 5.2 percent, Latinxs 4.9 percent, Multi-racials 4.7 percent, Blacks 3.1 percent, and Native Americans have had an April positivity rate of 4.3 percent.

As of April 26, DPH estimates over 90 percent of the City’s Latinx, Asian, Native American and Pacific Islander populations, 82 percent of the Black population and 78 percent of the White population have received 2 doses of The Vaccine. No figures are available for Multi-racials.

As of April 26, 77 percent of Whites and Asians who have been vaccinated, have been boosted, while 61 percent of vaccinated Blacks, 58 percent of vaccinated Latinxs and Native Americans and 56 percent of vaccinated Pacific Islanders have also received a booster.

For information on where to get vaccinated in and around the Mission, visit our Vaccination Page.

Four new covid-related deaths, 2 more in April, have been reported, bringing the total since the beginning of the year to 163. DPH won’t say how many were vaccinated. Nor does it provide information on the race/ethnicity or socio-economic status of those who have recently died. 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 fog gets denser as DPH continues to report, as it has for months, only 21 of the deaths are known to have had no underlying conditions, or comorbidities.

The lack of data has made R Number estimates very uncertain. Covid R Estimation on April 22 estimated the San Francisco R Number at 1.59 while estimating the California R Number at 1.47 on April 25. The ensemble, as of April 24, estimates the San Francisco R Number at 1.16 while estimating the California R Number at .98. Only one model in the ensemble has SF under 1.

As of April 22, DPH reports 2 recorded infections this month so far in nursing homes (“Skilled Nursing Facilities”), and 0 new deaths.

In Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs) there have been 30 recorded infections and 0 deaths so far this month.

Among the unhoused, DPH reports 36 April infections. During the course of the pandemic, DPH reports only 13 covid deaths among the unhoused.

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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 so tired of Dr. Monica Gandhi’s inaccuracy and recklessness.

    And Monica Gandhi and Bob Wachter both love to talk about how immunocompromised people can just get Evusheld now, and all will be fine.

    But even at their very own institution, UCSF, Evusheld is not available to all immunocompromised patients. You have to fall in a specific category, such as being an organ transplant recipient. I’m an immunocompromised UCSF patient who was recently trying to get on Evusheld so I could visit a dying parent in another state. No such luck. There just aren’t enough doses for everyone yet.

    Of course, I want those most at risk to be able to access those treatments first. But it’s particularly frustrating for me to hear those UCSF experts talk about how they now have “better treatments” for immunocompromised patients — and everything’s all great and solved now — when that simply is not the case.

    And what if you don’t have health insurance?

  2. “With the future of covid now a matter of personal choice and individual risk analysis, public health agencies such as San Francisco Department of Public Health can get back to . . .”

    Comedy gold, Jerry! Well, it would be funny if it weren’t so tragic.

    Kudos for the continued great work, Mark.

  3. The Cuban success is terrific news. It should be studied for all sorts of reasons, whether it’s more effective, easier to produce, how it’s not patented, whether it’s cheaper, what its says about FDA processes, whether we should adopt it as is, or what sort of testing would be required…

    I think Novavax is a subunit vaccine, Peter Hotez’s CORBEVAX is one as well and Canada has one too.

    Novavax is still trying to get approval, and for some reason my understanding is CORBEVAX is not seeking US approval I don’t know why… It is approved in India.

    Canada’s is not allowed in the US, why?

  4. > The celebrities did not note that increased transmission led to more covid deaths in 2021 despite The Vaccine and less severe variants, or that 15 percent of Februrary 2022 covid deaths were boosted.

    Artie Vierkant’s tweet is innumerate. The graph he shows is displaying the base rate fallacy and your cautionary reference to that tweet is innumeracy as well.

    More people are vaxxed and boosted over time. Fewer people are unvaxxed.

    So by mathematical necessity, as the earth revolves around the sun and day becomes night, you will find more deaths in the vaxxed over time and fewer deaths in the unvaxxed.

    The appropriate question is: what percentage of deaths are occurring in the vaxxed compared to the total vaxxed, and what percentage of deaths are occurring in the unvaxxed compared to the total unvaxxed.

    1. We’d need a functional independent national public health system not beholden to the medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex in order to collect, organize, analyze, and report the data, but we’re America, so we don’t need no stinkin’ functional independent national public health system not beholden to the medical-pharmaceutical industrial complex.