Resilience — What To Expect Next?

Thank you so much to all of our frontline transport operators, food, energy and medical first responder HEROs! You’re helping us win this fight against the novel coronavirus disease. I am feeling so very fortunate and proud to be an American living in my isopod up on twin peaks in San Francisco while trying to make sense of why we are in this alternate reality of collective isolation.

Monday begins Week Five of collective isolation living. Among American cities, San Francisco ranks second to New York City in population density with an estimated weekday commuter surge of one quarter million people.

Since April 5th, San Francisco has reported a total of 571 positive cases for novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and 8 deaths to raise the US totals to 336,619 and 9,631 respectively. A month ago, March 5th, the City reported its first two cases to raise the US total to 31. These cases were both categorized as community spread. The data for the San Francisco Bay Area would suggest that novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases have been tripling every week versus every few days in NYC where the figures are 67,552 cases and 4,160 deaths.

Mayor Breed ordered a full shelter-in-place lockdown of San Francisco on Monday, March16th. According to the Nation’s to infectious disease experts, including Dr. Fauci, the best strategy to bring a pandemic under control is mitigation. After three weeks in effect, San Francisco’s mitigation strategy is showing signs of success, however the issue of securing rapid testing capabilities is still unresolved, so in effect, there’s no way for our public health officials to know if it’s working.

Like so many healthier and wealthier centers, San Francisco has managed to sidestep the exponential rise in novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, hospital admissions, ICU beds in use and deaths. Prudent mitigation efforts appear to be succeeding in slowing further community spread.

There is still very long way to go and rapid testing capability is not within our grasp. Solving for this is key to our City’s longer-term health and success in containment. Once the backlog is cleared, a reliable testing regime catches up and the volatility in the daily case figures smoothes, we will be in a position to identify the curve flattening with decent degree of confidence.

San Franciscans, let’s engage with our Bay Area neighbors to start making plans in determining how we are going to implement a responsible and compassionate system where public health officials have the resources to be rapidly testing anyone entering the SFBA who displays symptoms so that we can identify new cases and self-quarantine or treat them in order to prevent re-seeding any new hot spots. Once we have the resources in place and established protocols, It’s going to take 2-to-4 weeks of data that clearly indicates the City is on its way down the backside of a flat curve, then shelter in place is lifted, however social distancing protocols follow us on our re-entry trip out of orbit.

The Giants won’t be playing because there isn’t going to be a baseball season this year. Football? maybe. Those of us privileged to be able to work from home will be strongly encouraged to do so as much possible and public transit will be incredible slow moving with riders charged with practicing social distance. Will BART and Muni both have personnel taking rider temperatures prior to granting them access to the system?

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