Good morning, Mission, and welcome to Virus Village, your (somewhat regular) Covid-19 data dump.
Hospitalizations, recorded infections and positivity rates show some stability as R Number models dip below 1. Wastewater monitoring shows a recent decline before levelling off.
Belatedly, local celebrity experts now agree San Francisco has been in the midst of another surge, quickly blaming it on public “pandemic fatigue.” Once again, arguments over the efficacy of masks and mask mandates generate more than enough controversy to keep everyone distracted.
A new study from the sites at Mission and 24th street indicates covid has become milder for many but may remain infectious beyond the standard five days (set by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). In the Chronicle article, senior author of the study, Dr. Diane Havlir, is quoted as saying, “Milder illness does not mean no illness. It does not mean the illness doesn’t affect people’s ability to go to work and support their families. And we’re still seeing hospitalizations. We are still in a pandemic, and we need to keep our response on pace with the virus.”
Further down in the article, she observes: “The new public health approach is personal responsibility.”
Even if you have healthcare, access to “the tools,” a ventilated workplace and home and isolation support, it’s not easy to know what to do.
You may want to reconsider the gym.
During the “less severe” omicron surge, death rates soared for the elderly.
Public health still seems to functioning in Japan, where a more cautious and more consistent approach has promoted public trust and held down the numbers.
A cheerleader for personal responsibility, San Francisco’s Department of Public Health suggests you remain “covid ready”, while providing some testing and vaccination programs. The Department seems to be busy running a PR campaign to cover up the mess at Laguna Honda.
A recent study shows the efficacy of Evushield during the initial omicron surge, while the Paxlovid “rebound effect” is only an introduction to the drug’s mysteries. Another “tool,” the pulse oximeter, doesn’t work well for people of color, with predictable consequences.
There are now 200 symptoms associated with “long covid” even though we still know next to nothing about it.
The Vaccine continues to work in protecting against severe illness. There is some evidence that “Fully vaccinated individuals had a shorter duration of viable viral shedding and a lower rate of secondary transmission than partially vaccinated or unvaccinated individuals.”
Although the second booster (4th shot) provides little or no benefit, more evidence suggests repeated vaccination does not exhaust the immune response by T cells.
Scroll down for today’s covid numbers.
Over the past week, hospitalizations rose another 12 percent (representing 11 new patients). On May 31, DPH reports there were 100 covid hospitalizations, or about 11.4 covid hospitalizations per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population). Though still low, ICU patients rose into double figures during the week. The California Department of Public Health currently reports 96 covid patients in SF hospitals with 11 patients in ICU.
The latest report from the federal Department of Health and Human Services shows Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with 14 covid patients and 8 ICU beds available, while across the Mission, CPMC had 12 covid patients and 4 ICU beds available. Of 98 reported covid patients in the City, 29 were at either SFGH or UCSF, with at least 72 ICU beds available among reporting hospitals (which does not include the Veterans Administration or Laguna Honda). The California DPH currently reports 110 ICU beds available in San Francisco.
Between March 28 and May 27, DPH recorded 992 new infections among Mission residents (an increase of 13 percent from last week) or 191 new infections per 10,000 residents. During that period, Mission Bay had the highest rate at 331 new infections per 10,000 residents. Of 38 neighborhoods, 18 had rates above 200 per 10,000 residents, with 12 in the east and southeast sectors of the City. Treasure Island continued with the lowest rate and Lakeshore, the only neighborhood in the City with less than 50 percent of its population vaccinated, continued to have the second lowest rate.
DPH reports on May 24, the 7-day average of daily new infections recorded in the City rose to 481 or approximately 55 new infections per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population), representing a 1.3 percent rise from last week. According to DPH, the 7-day average infection rate among vaccinated residents was 52.2 per 100,000 “fully vaccinated” residents and 108.1 per 100,000 unvaccinated residents. It is unclear whether “fully vaccinated” means 2, 3 or 4 doses. According to the New York Times, the 7-day average number on May 24 was 569. The latest report from the Times says the 7-day average on May 31 was 519, a 3 percent rise over the past two weeks. State wastewater monitoring at the City’s Southeast sewer shed shows virus prevalence declining for a few days before flattening out at a relatively high level.
As of May 27, Asians have had 3,698 new recorded infections or 30.4 percent of the month’s cases so far; White 3,052 infections or 25.1 percent; Latinxs 1,444 infections or 11.9 percent; Blacks 434 infections or 3.6 percent; Multi-racials 91 infections or .7 percent; Pacific Islanders 74 infections or .6 percent; and Native Americans have had 23 recorded infections in May or .3 percent of the May totals so far.
The 7-day rolling Citywide average positivity rate dropped about .8 percent during the past week, while average daily testing rose 3 percent. Between March 28 and May 27, DPH reports an 8.1 percent positivity rate in the Mission. During that time, Portola had the highest postivity rate at 10.5 percent and Noe Valley had the lowest rate at 6.4 percent.
Vaccination rates in SF show virtually no change from last week with the number of residents who have received at least one dose rising .064 percent and the number of residents receiving a booster rising .6 percent.
For information on where to get vaccinated in and around the Mission, visit our Vaccination Page.
Four new covid-related deaths, including 3 more in May, have been reported, bringing the total since the beginning of the year to 186. 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 reports, incredibly as it has for months, only 21 of the deaths are known to have had no underlying conditions, or comorbidities. DPH only supplies cumulative figures on deaths.
The lack of reliable infection number data makes R Number estimates very uncertain. Covid R Estimation on May 24 estimated the San Francisco R Number had dropped below 1 to .94 while its estimate for the California R Number on May 30 dropped to .99. The ensemble, as of May 29, lowered its estimate of the San Francisco R Number to .91 and lowered its California R Number to .94. Note: Two models show SF under 1, with one recording a preposterous .19.
As of May 27, DPH has recorded 26 new infections in nursing homes (“skilled nursing facilities) and 2 new deaths so far this month. In Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs), DPH has recorded 181 infections and 0 new deaths so far in May.
Thanks again, Mark.
When is Mission Local going to be coming through with that reporting on the pandemic as it affects seniors, disabled, and the immunocompromised? I was so excited to read in your column last week that that was forthcoming, but I haven’t seen anything since. Would love to read about that. I really hope Mission Local follows through on that one.
Covid in the waste water seems to indicate that we are in a surge that is more severe than the omicron one in January