Good morning, Mission, and welcome to Virus Village, your (somewhat) regular Covid-19 data dump.
Hospitalizations, recorded infections, positivity rates and R Number models are rising. Wastewater monitoring continues to show an ebbing.
Politics may be critical in determining a public-health response to a pandemic. But let’s not shortchange economics. “Follow the money” has been a more accurate guide to Covid-19 than “Follow the science.” While many have suffered from covid, only a few have profited. Handsomely. Or obscenely, in the case of Pfizer, which now says it will triple or quadruple the price of its shots. And where do the profits go? A big chunk goes to propaganda (sorry, I mean “marketing”).
The Pfizer covid treatment Paxlovid has had its ups and downs, but it’s not widely used. Pfizer has been trying to boost sales with aggressive marketing. A new study involving Paxlovid and long covid may help. It has received considerable attention, as prominent celebrity experts have rushed to promote it as a reason to use the drug more.
A prominent contrarian has pointed to the study’s flaws. I know Dr. Vinay Prasad is not popular with ML readers (with reason). Please keep your comments to the content of his remarks, rather than other positions or rantings you might object to.
Judge for yourself. Here’s the study.
What’s up with the variants and the winter surge? This piece, from Eric Topol of Scripps Research Institute, has signs of optimism.
On the more pessimistic side, here’s an update of the flu epidemic that also seems to be sweeping the country. Deploying “troops” and “ventilators”? Sounds like an April, 2020, remix.
With little covid news nationally (and, of course, none locally, where covid has been expertly swept under the rug), how are things going globally? Is the pandemic over? Note. Data for this chart comes from pandem-ic.com, one of the few outlets tracking covid globally.
With the elections swamping covid (and climate and war) in the media, this might be a good time to ask why China is persisting in its “dynamic zero covid” strategy. I’ve found it impossible to find any straight, objective report. Reports from western media routinely mock and/or angrily condemn the policy, pointing to its global economic drag.
Reports from the Chinese press seem more concerned about the virulence and uncontrolled spread of the virus than money. In this report, China’s “top health expert” talks about a cost-benefit analysis.
An opinion piece in Project Syndicate takes a more in-depth look at what a “cost and benefit analysis” might involve. Check out how the author figures the cost (and the worth of an individual life). China may or may not be making these kinds of calculations. I wonder how much they have been used in the U.S. to influence or determine covid policy. The writer is a professor of Finance and Economics at Columbia.
If you know of any reliable sources of information on China’s covid policy, please pass them on.
Shocking as it may seem, China may be making progress on a variety of vaccines — without the aid of Pfizer’s marketing department.
Scroll down for today’s covid numbers.
Hospitalizations are up from last week. On November 5, the San Francisco Department of Public Health reported 49 covid hospitalizations, or about 5.6 covid hospitalizations per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population). This represents an 22.5 percent increase from last week. ICU patients remain in single digits. The California Department of Public Health reports on November 3, there were 54 covid patients in SF hospitals (one more than last week) with 5 patients in ICU. For the week ending November 6, the CDC says there were 51 new covid admissions, a 17.3 percent increase from the previous week. In addition, the CDC says 3.2 percent of staffed ICU beds were occupied by confirmed covid patients (a .7 percent rise from the previous week). According to the New York Times, on November 8, the daily average of covid hospitalizations was 66, an 6 percent rise from two weeks ago. Neither the CDC, NYT or the CaDPH say which hospitals are included in their survey. Should the brain fog ever lift at SFDPH, we may find out how many covid-positive patients have been vaccinated and how many are 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 8 ICU beds available, while across the Mission, CPMC had 6 covid patients and 8 ICU beds available. Of 64 reported covid patients in the City, 25 were at either SFGH or UCSF. On November 4, UCSF had 0 covid patients in ICU. At least 72 ICU beds are available among reporting hospitals (not including the Veterans Administration or Laguna Honda). The California DPH reports that as of November 3, SF had 76 ICU beds available. Whether those beds are actually “staffed” neither source will say.
Between September 5 and November 4, DPH recorded 317 new infections among Mission residents (a rise of 3.3 percent from last report) or 54 new infections per 10,000 residents. Sunset/Parkside was the only neighborhood in the City with more. During that period, Portola had the highest rate at 84 new infections per 10,000 residents. Of 38 neighborhoods, 14 had rates at or above 70 per 10,000 residents, 10 in the east and southeast sectors of the City.
DPH reports on November 1 the 7-day average of daily new infections recorded in the City increased to 85 or approximately 9.7 new infections per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population), a 30.8 percent rise from last week. On November 1, the New York Times said the 7-day average was 63, a 28 percent decrease over the past two weeks. On November 8, the Times says the 7-day average was 83, a 20 percent increase over the past two weeks. The CDC says that for the week ending November 2, the daily average was 66, a 33 percent rise from the previous week.
Wastewater monitoring of the City’s Southeast sewers shows variants BA.4, BA.5 and BA. 2.75 trending down from last week. This report, from the Stanford model, does not yet include BQ.1 or any of the other omicron offspirng. If you have a source for wastewater monitoring which includes the BQ and XBB variants, please let me know.
For the month of October, DPH reports Asians recorded 669 infections or 27.7 percent of the month’s cases; Whites 609 infections or 25.2 percent; Latinxs 251 infections or 10.4 percent; Blacks 112 infections or 4.6 percent; Pacific Islanders 24 infections or 1 percent; Multi-racials 22 infections or .9 percent; and Native Americans recorded 2 infections or .1 percent of the month’s total cases.
On November 1, DPH says the 7-day rolling Citywide average positivity rate rose to 5.3 percent, a 10 percent rise over last week. CADPH reports a 4.9 percent weekly average on November 3. The daily average testing numbers have consistently been below 2,000 for the past month, way lower than at almost any time during the pandemic.
Between September 5 and November 4, DPH reports Mission residents had a 4.7 percent positivity rate based on 7,823 tests Of 38 neighborhoods, 16 had positivity rates 6 percent and higher; with 7 in the east and southeast sectors.
Between November 1 and November 8, DPH reports 298 San Francisco residents received their first or second shot. Vaccination rates in SF show little change since January: 90 percent of all San Franciscans have received one shot, 86 percent two shots and 64 percent have received at least one booster. As of November 6, 22 percent of SF residents have received the bivalent booster.
For information on where to get vaccinated in and around the Mission, visit our Vaccination Page.
Five new covid-related deaths have been reported since our last report, bringing the total since the beginning of the year to 371. 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. It gets worse as DPH reports only 22 of all SF covid-related deaths are known to have had no underlying conditions, or comorbidities.
The lack of reliable infection numbers makes R Number estimates very uncertain. Covid R Estimation on October 27 estimated the San Francisco R Number at .96 while its estimate for the California R Number on November 7 was .85. The ensemble, on November 6, estimated the San Francisco R Number at 1.04 and the California R Number at .94.
During the month of October, San Franciscans aged 0-4 recorded 64 infections or 2.7 percent of the month’s total; 5-11 51 infections or 2.1 percent; 12-17 45 infections or 1.9 percent; 18-20 36 infections or 1.5 percent; 21-24 86 infections or 3.6 percent; 25-29 209 infections or 8.7 percent; 30-39 461 infections or 19.1 percent; 40-49 347 or 14.4 percent; 50-59 356 infections or 14.7 percent; 60-69 329 infections or 13.6 percent; 70-79 230 infections or 9.5 percent; and those San Franciscans 80 and above recorded 198 infections or 8.2 percent of the month’s totals.