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

Hospitalizations remain stagnant as recorded infections, positivity rates, wastewater monitoring and R Number models continue to slide downward.

I noticed that, in the comments, there was some discussion about the accuracy of the “recorded infections.” Yes, they are artificially low, given that the City does not record at-home tests. Yet, these numbers, like all covid numbers reported here and elsewhere, have never been “accurate.” At best, “the data” provides a general and relative sense of where things are going.

It’s September and, as in the previous two Septembers, the numbers are (slowly, slowly) coming down. We don’t know how far down they will fall before the next surge (wave, bump, etc.) hits. So far, the only variants on the horizon are BA 2.75, which has been dominating India, and BA. 6, which could present more problems.

With another booster being rolled out by the Biden Administration, much of the news this week concerns The Vaccine.

This generation’s remix of “The Best and the Brightest” have come up with a brilliant strategy to combat covid: a slightly tweaked booster every year. But don’t stop there. Make people pay for it. That should make the sneaky virus surrender.

Never mind funding a vaccine that might actually reduce infections for more than a month or two and provide durable protection against severe disease. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Biden Bunch has yet to mention this option.

China is moving ahead.

The new booster comes without data on its efficacy or safety. It’s been a subject of some debate with many unanswered questions. A member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Vaccine committee, who voted against the booster, explains why here. And here is his argument questioning the booster forever strategy

Though the mRNA vaccines are lifesavers, they are far from perfect. In addition to not addressing the problem of transmission, a redesign could improve potency and reduce side effects.

Along with the government’s refusal to pay for the next-gen vaccines, developers face another daunting hurdle: Pfizer.

How well does the current vaccine prevent hospitalizations? No one knows. From its flawed and severely limited national database, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a report out, indicating that 44 percent of non-pregnant covid hospitalizations between June, 2021, and May, 2022, had received the primary vaccination series, and some had at least one booster.

In combatting covid, though “science” has played an important role in the debate, it has been politics (and economics), not science, in command. Two recent articles demonstrate the point.

The first deals with the early “flawed narrative” that covid was primarily transmitted through droplets, rather than aerosols. How did this view (challenged at the time and since proved wrong) come to dominate, and what have been the consequences? It is worth a read, because we see the same problems today, with officials continuing to ignore “the science” and refusing to address ventilation, crowded spaces and the production and distribution of high-quality masks.

The second is a critique of Anthony Fauci’s role. It’s not rant from Tucker Carlson, but does recount Fauci’s errors. Everybody makes mistakes but, especially given his position, not all mistakes are created equal. For the most part, the problem was political. For example, Fauci, in promoting The Vaccine, assured us it would prevent infection (even though he knew, or should have known, the antibodies would wane). Yes, his statements, which endured through most of 2021, were amplified by a chorus of wannabe celebrity experts (which is another and perhaps deeper problem)

Finally, here’s one of the more intriguing studies in the covid era, examining people who suffered “temporal disintegration” — dislocations and disorientations in experiencing time — during the first six months of the pandemic. This was not due to the virus, but a by-product of the lockdowns and the atmosphere of fear which surrounded them.

Scroll down for today’s covid numbers.

Hospitalizations remain where they were last week. On September 3, the San Francisco Department of Public Health reported 65 covid hospitalizations, or about 7.4 covid hospitalizations per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population). This represents a 1.5 percent drop from last week. ICU patients remain at 12. The California Department of Public Health reports on September 6, there were 61 covid patients in SF hospitals with 9 patients in ICU. For the week ending September 4, the CDC says there were 44 new admissions, a 24 percent decrease from the previous week. The CDC won’t say which hospitals are included in their survey. DPH refuses to report on admissions, and continues to hide how many covid positive patients had been vaccinated and how many were hospitalized “for” covid, and how many “with” covid.

The latest report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with 9 covid patients and 10 ICU beds available, while across the Mission, CPMC had 7 covid patients and 3 ICU beds available. Of 76 reported covid patients in the City, 33 were at either SFGH or UCSF. At least 67 ICU beds are available among reporting hospitals (not including the Veterans Administration or Laguna Honda). The California DPH reports that as of September 6, SF had 85 ICU beds available. Whether those beds are actually “staffed” neither the city nor the state will say.

Between July 4 and September 2, DPH recorded 874 new infections among Mission residents (a decrease of 15 percent from last week) or 149 new infections per 10,000 residents. During that period, Bayview Hunters Point had the highest rate at 263 new infections per 10,000 residents. Of 38 neighborhoods, 6 had rates above 200 per 10,000 residents, 5 in the east and southeast sectors of the City.

DPH reports on August 30, the 7-day average of daily new infections recorded in the City dropped to 125 or approximately 14.3 new infections per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population), a decrease of approximately 18 percent from last week. According to DPH, the 7-day average infection rate among vaccinated residents was 13.3 per 100,000 “fully vaccinated” residents and 36.5 per 100,000 unvaccinated residents. It is unclear whether “fully vaccinated” means 2, 3 or 4 doses. The New York Times said the 7-day average on August 30 was 171. On September 6, the Times says the 7-day average was 143, a 19 percent decrease over the past two weeks. Wastewater monitoring shows covid continuing to decline in the City’s southeast sewers (well below where it was last month). This report comes from the Stanford model.

According to DPH, for the month of August, Asians recorded 1,524 infections, or 28.1 percent of the month’s total; Whites 1,203 infections or 22.2 percent; Latinxs 823 infections or 15.2 percent; Blacks 270 infections or 5 percent; Pacific Islanders 40 infections or .7 percent; Multi-racials 34 infections or .6 percent and Native Americans recorded 7 infections or .1 percent of the August totals.

On August 30, the 7-day rolling Citywide average positivity rate dropped 21 percent from last week to 6.4 percent, the lowest positivity rate since April 20. Since last week, the average daily testing rose approximately 2 percent. Between July 4 and September 2, the Mission had a positivity rate of 10.5 percent, a 10 percent drop from last week’s report.

Between August 30 and September 6, 383 San Francisco residents received their first or second shot. Vaccination rates in SF show virtually no change over the past three or four months: 90 percent of all San Franciscans have received one shot, 85 percent two shots and 64 percent have received at least one booster. As of September 5, DPH estimates 89 percent of Mission residents have received the primary series and 64 percent have received at least one booster.

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

Sixteen new covid-related deaths have been reported since our last report, bringing the total since the beginning of the year to 324. July had the sixth-highest monthly death total recorded during the pandemic. DPH refuses to report how many were vaccinated. It only provides cumulative information on race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. 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, as it has for months, only 21 of the deaths are known to have had no underlying conditions, or comorbidities. DPH only supplies cumulative demographic numbers on deaths.

The lack of reliable infection numbers makes R Number estimates very uncertain. Covid R Estimation on August 30 estimated the San Francisco R Number at a surprising .67 while its estimate for the California R Number on September 5 was also .67. The ensemble, on September 4, estimated the San Francisco R Number at .98 and the California R Number at .76. Note: No model in the ensemble shows SF above 1.

According to DPH, for the month of August, San Franciscans aged 0-4 recorded 219 infections or 4 percent of the month’s totals; 5-11 170 infections or 3.1 percent; 12-17 162 infections or 3 percent; 18-20 115 infections or 2.1 percent; 21-24 262 infections or 4.8 percent; 25-29 505 infecitons or 9.3 percent; 30-39 1,078 infections or 19.9 percent; 40-49 817 infections or 15 percent; 50-59 766 infections or 14.1 percent; 60-69 628 infections or 11.6 percent; 70-79 420 infections or 7.7 percent; and those San Franciscans 80 and above had 286 infections or 5.3 percent of the recorded infections in August. As noted earlier, the proportion of recorded infections among older San Franciscans (60+) has been much higher during the current wave than the omicron wave last winter.

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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. Mark,

    I appreciate you putting these numbers in some context. I find it maddening when people just shout out scary numbers like “10.5 million orphans!” to somehow “prove” that their policy proscriptions are obviously the best ones. Almost everyone has come to terms with the indisputable scientific fact that COVID has taken another spot in the 4 or 5 endemic coronaviruses that circulate among us and that will circulate among us for generations to come. And, most of us know that 93% – 98% of us will encounter this virus at least once and likely multiple times throughout our lives. The policy question, informed but not determined by accurate data, is how to reduce the harms of COVID without creating greater harms. The few folks, who are upset at the rest of us making informed health decisions that they disagree with, seem to think that calling us all uninformed idiots and uncaring jerks will somehow persuade a majority of folks to agree with them. Please notice that they never say with any specificity what the goal of any particular policy they advocate is or how likely that policy is to achieve that goal. It seems like the big one around here is mandatory masking. I wish they would identify the point (case numbers, deaths, something else?) that they are looking to achieve before a mandate would no longer be required. It would be nice of them to identify a place where their chosen policy prescriptions have achieved the goal as well. I think there has been excessive fear mongering (some fear was justified for sure) and has left some folks deeply and, I fear, permanently, hyper anxious and fearful. I hope that all of those folks become less affected as time goes on and we should all sympathize with them now and welcome them back when they are ready. Thanks again for the context you provide for all these charts and numbers.

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    1. Amen! Who cares about 10.5 million orphans or those annoying immunocompromised people? It’s my god-given right to go to Trader Joe’s without a mask on, and I’m going to do it.

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      1. Miriam,

        What positive effect would it have if i wore a mask, in your opinion? Please be specific and point to the evidence, if you don’t mind.

        When will it be ok to take off the mask, in your opinion?

        I don’t want anyone to be harmed by this virus anymore than you do. I wish you would believe that is true. I think you are wrong about 2 way masking but i would never accuse you of not caring about toddlers’ loss of critical language development which i believe is one of the downsides of mandatory masking. I give you credit for having good faith even if i disagree with you. Any chance you could reciprocate?

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          1. You sound very rational and reasonable. It’s a wonder you are not persuading more people to your point of view. I am beginning to think that is not your goal…..

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  2. Burning Man’s probably going to turn out to be a superspreader for both Covid and monkeypox. I expect that will play a big part in causing the numbers to rise significantly pretty soon here in SF. It was so irresponsible of them to hold it in person this year.

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  3. Of the 6.5 million lives lost over the two-plus years of this ongoing pandemic, 10.5 million children have been orphaned because their parents/caregivers died of the same virus that gets stronger with each mutation. ( )

    And cry-babies still don’t want to wear masks in public.

    For the sake of you and all those you care about:
    Get vaxxed. 💉
    Get boosted. 💉
    Mask up. 😷
    Social distance. ↔️

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