Covid-19 Tracker: Small change – Mission Local

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

The numbers declined over the week but not by much.

National covid personality Ashish Jha spoke with UCSF doc Bob Wachter on this week’s edition of UCSF Grand Rounds. Generally uncontroversial, Jha boosted boosters, endorsed mandates and gave the Biden administration good grades for vaccination, and poor grades for testing.

Although the Moderna vaccine has been found to generate long-lasting immune memory, the FDA advisory committee endorsed a reduced Moderna booster, but pointedly did not recommend boosters for all. No matter; the practical result is that pretty much anyone who wants a booster will be able to get one. As there was no data to support the need for a Moderna booster, the commitree relied on old Pfizer data from Israel. One committee member, expressed concerns but thought not granting a similar approval would leave people in the U.S. “completely confused.” Good point doc.

Perhaps with the booster decision, and an earlier decision granting approval without data for an alzheimer’s drug, then FDA has decided to play it scientifically wise with the new Merck covid drug, which alters the virus’ DNA. “Risks for the host may not be zero,” said researchers in what might be the understatement of the year.

When lockdowns were first mandated last spring, they were promoted as a way to “flatten the curve” and give the health care system some time to provide adequate control measures. Beyond masking and hand washing, controls either didn’t happen, or happened piecemeal as lockdowns became the primary mitigation method without adequate social and economic backup. There were economic costs, but also mental health costs, especially among young people who were kept out of school. Closing playgrounds probably didn’t help either.

Here’s an interview with Dr. Susan Ehrlich, CEO at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, which was called on to provide care for the most at risk and underserved populations in the City. She stresses the importance of community involvement. 

Speaking of inequities in health care, the covid crisis has prompted the National Institues to announce $100 million for new research into the subject. That’s good news. The bad news is the announcement unleashed “a gold rush mentality where researchers with little or no background or training in health equity research, often white and already well-funded, are rushing in to scoop up grants and publish papers.”

Inequality does not seem to be the main concern of the Californial health care industry, which is struggling to maintain the current high costs of health care.

Looking for a flu shot? Unidos for Salud is offering free flu shots on Saturdays until the end of the month.

Scroll down for today’s covid numbers.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control data used for the chart lags behind the data supplied from the San Francisco Department of Public Health. As of Oct. 14, DPH reports more than 80 percent of all San Francisco residents have received one dose, and 75 percent are completely vaccinated. For those over 12, 88 percent have received one dose and 83 percent are fully vaccinated. New vaccinations, though low, keep on truckin’. On Oct. 12, the seven-day rolling average of shots per day was 203. For information on where to get vaccinated in and around the Mission, visit our Vaccination Page.

On Oct. 11, DPH reports there were 53 covid hospitalizations, or about 6.2 per 100,000 (based on an 874,000 population).  ICU numbers are back up in the 20s. DPH has not reported breakthrough hospitalizations and deaths since Sept. 17.  According to the CDC, there were 43 new admissions for the week ending Oct. 12  (no change from the previous week). For the week ending Oct. 12, covid patients accounted for 2.96 percent of hospital beds (-.52 percent from the previous week) and 6.54 percent of ICU beds (– 2.2 percent from the previous week).   As of Oct. 12, the CDC says that, of more than 187 million vaccinated U.S. residents, 31,895 patients with a covid vaccine breakthrough infection were hospitalized or died (though 13 percent of deaths  and  15 percent of hospitalizations did not have symptoms of covid, or their hospitalization or death was not covid-related). Note: 85 percent of the deaths and 67 percent of the non-fatal hospitalizations were among those 65 and older.

The latest report from the federal Department of Health and Human Services shows Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital with 9 covid patients and 7 ICU beds available, while across the Mission, CPMC had 4 covid patients and 3 ICU beds available. Of 71 reported covid patients, 39 were at either SFGH or UCSF, with at least 74 ICU beds available among reporting hospitals. The California DPH says there are 90 ICU beds available in San Francisco. The SF DPH won’t say.

Between Aug. 11 and Oct. 10, DPH recorded 462 new cases in the Mission for a rate of 79 new cases per 10,000 residents. Over that period, DPH recorded 584 new cases in Bayview Hunters Point or 154 new cases per 10,000 residents. SOMA was the only other neighborhood with new case rates above 100 per 10,000 residents. 

After rising a bit, cases are falling a bit. average of daily new cases in the City was 74, or approximately 8.5 new cases per day per 100,000 residents (based on an 874,000 population).  The 7-day average case rate among vaccinated residents was 7.7 per 100,000 fully vaccinated residents  and for unvaccinated residents  12.2 per unvaccinated 100,000 residents.  

In September, White San Franciscans had 1,064 recorded infections, or 37 percent of September cases; Asians 649 or 22.6 percent, Latinxs 554 or 19.3 percent, Blacks 216 or 7.5 percent, Multi-racials 51 or 1.8 percent, Pacific Islanders 35 or 1.2 percent and Native Americans had 9 recorded infections or .3 percent of the month’s cases.

As of Sept. 30, Pacific Islanders had a September testing rate of 525 tests per 1000 residents with a positivity rate of 2.9 percent, Native Americans 337 tests with 2.4 percent positivity, Blacks 254 with 2.2 percent positivity, Whites 170 with 2 percent positivity  Asians 161 with 1.6 percent positivity and Latinxs 148 tests per 1000 residents with a positivity rate of 3.3 percent.  Since Sept. 21, DPH has reported a Citywide 7 day test positivity average of less than 2 percent. Note: a reader asks if I knew whether DPH included at-home rapid tests.  I don’t know, but think it highly doubtful.

Covid-related deaths in San Francisco are always difficult to figure. The death DPH recently added in September was apparently the first October death. The Delta total (August,September and October) remains at 69  and the cumulative covid-related death toll to 645. According to DPH, over half the deaths were among persons over the age of 80 with 87 percent over the age of 60. Less than 3 percent had no known underlying condition. For the time being, DPH has stopped reporting the vaccination status of covid-related deaths.

Covid R Estimation kept its most recent San Francisco R Number at 1.01 and its current estimate for the California R number at .93. According to this model, SF is one of only 3 counties in the state at 1 or higher. In contrast, the ensemble raised its average  San Francisco  R Number to .81 while putting its California average at .82. No model in the ensemble shows the SF rate of transmission  currently above 1.

In September, 47 infections were recorded among unhoused residents, down from an August total of 122 and 1 new covid-related death.  Nursing homes recorded 0 new cases (down from 19 in August) and 2 new deaths for the month, while in SROs (Single Room Occupancy hotels) DPH recorded 122 new cases (down from 131 in August) and 5 new deaths.