Can SF survive the fall COVID-19 surge? UCSF doctor responds

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The lethal fall COVID-19 surge well being officers have been warning about for months has swept the United States and is being blamed partially on Americans not sporting masks, in addition to the onset of chilly climate that’s forcing folks indoors, the place the virus can unfold extra simply.

The common variety of new circumstances per day in the U.S. has soared greater than 40% over the previous two weeks, from round 49,000 to about 70,000. Deaths per day have climbed from about 700 to virtually 800.

So far, San Francisco has steered away from the surge as the metropolis continues to manage the virus with its residents sporting masks, companies and faculties reopening slowly and scientists and politicians collaborating on public well being orders.


Can the metropolis survive what some are calling the third wave?

“I’ll go out on a limb and say yes … and hope that I’m not proven wrong,” Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, wrote in one in all his weekly Twitter threads on the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wachter mentioned that he is hopeful S.F. will not expertise a fall explosion in circumstances primarily based on how the metropolis has responded to the virus with vigilance since the begin of the pandemic, when Mayor London Breed declared an area state of emergency.

“When I walk or drive around SF, I see evidence of why Covid cases & deaths are the lowest of any big city in the U.S. Masking is near universal, Ubers & Lyfts have their windows wide open, & there are pop-up outdoor eating spaces everywhere,” he wrote.

He added, “History is with us: when all of California began to surge in June, SF was able to turn it around – whereas much of the rest of CA didn’t and was hit far harder. Ditto for the southern states.”

Coronavirus circumstances are spreading throughout the United States like wildfire, with infections on the rise in each state however Virginia, in line with covidexitstrategy.org. Deaths are up in 34 states.

The states seeing the highest charges of newly confirmed infections are principally in the Midwest and the Plains.

California has seen an uptick in coronavirus-related hospitalizations and intensive care admissions in the previous two weeks, prompting renewed warnings Tuesday from Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s prime well being official whilst newly confirmed circumstances stay properly beneath the current surge throughout a lot of the nation.

Statewide, hospitalizations elevated 4.7% over the previous 14 days and intensive care circumstances are up 5.9% over the similar interval. That contrasts with greater than a month of double-digit declines in each classes after the state retrenched this summer time and started what officers name a “slow and stringent” method to reopening companies.

The numbers are nonetheless properly beneath the place the state had been when circumstances spiked this summer time, and there may be ample remedy capability, he mentioned.

Zooming in on the Bay Area, the 9 counties “are seeing a smaller but potentially meaningful bump up in cases. The death curve is a bit bouncy, but one gets the sense of a small uptick here too,” Wachter wrote on Twitter.

Finally, a detailed take a look at San Francisco reveals the metropolis “remains a bright light among the largest U.S. cities,” Wachter wrote.

San Francisco is averaging 32 new circumstances a day, a quantity that has been secure for the previous week and properly beneath the July-August peak of 130 new infections a day.

“In all of SF, we’ve had 140 Covid deaths so far,” Wachter wrote. “As I’ve said, this is simply astounding, representing 16 deaths/100,000 people. If the entire U.S. had that per capita death rate, we’d have had 52K deaths, rather than 226K. In other words, 174,000 people would be alive today.”

Because of its low case and loss of life charges, San Francisco is the first city middle in California to see viral transmission attain the “minimal,” or yellow, tier in the state’s reopening plan. Several rural counties with small populations, comparable to Sonoma and Monterey counties, are in the most-restrictive purple tier as a result of widespread an infection, requiring many companies and actions to stay closed.

While many different main U.S. cities comparable to New York skilled terrifying intervals with skyrocketing circumstances that crammed hospital beds past capability, San Francisco has saved its variety of circumstances comparatively low, with some ups and downs, but no main surge that overwhelmed the metropolis’s well being care system and impacted its capability to supply optimum care.

The key to avoiding a fall surge and overwhelmed well being system is vigilance round masks sporting, particularly as journey inside the state and throughout the nation will increase, Wachter concluded.

“It’s just not that complicated: masks work,” he wrote.

Read Wachter’s full thread here.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Amy Graff – www.sfgate.com

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