Coronavirus SF: June 15, 2020 Update

Hello coronavirus-sf subscribers!

It’s been a challenging June so far (relaxation tip: limit the intake of national news 😂). Thankfully, San Francisco virus stats are looking okay even with recent protest gatherings (< 2% day-over-day case growth). If we absolutely must gather, mask adherence and distancing outdoors do lower the collective risk. Bay Area totals during the first half of June also look reasonable compared to May. Any small upticks within a local county (e.g. Contra Costa) don’t seem super concerning. I say this with some relief — because once we venture just a bit outside the Bay Area, there are real concerns with how the graphs are looking this month (e.g. San Joaquin, Napa).

June 15 marks the SF re-opening of indoor retail and non-emergency medical appointments, among other activities ( (I’ll still be skipping my annual routine checkup.) This past weekend, I drove east to the Central Valley counties of San Joaquin and Stanislaus (largest cities: Stockton and Modesto). It became clear to me why their coronavirus growth rates looked concerning & seemed to indicate a new wave: rarely did anyone wear masks, and they had re-opened *indoor* dining starting May 22. Coming back to SF, I was almost surprised to see so many masked people. Well played, SF and Bay Area residents! 😷

Last month, I thought long and hard about how to have great vacations during this pandemic! My solution: drive to outdoor camping. Nothing to disinfect, because the shelter is yours! Many public camp sites are still closed, but private camp sites are open! I experimented with camping at a private ranch found via (referral/discount code: “xiank”). The owner/host was most at risk, but there was plenty of outdoor space for guest distancing throughout the weekend! And sooo many cows! 🐄

Earlier during this pandemic, I wondered whether people outside China would use apps for reducing their virus risk. The answer so far is: not really. Google and Apple collaborated to build some contact-tracing technology infrastructure, but are asking local governments to build the actual apps (NBCNews). As if local governments have more tech capacity than two of the world’s largest tech companies!

As we move toward more re-openings, there’s a real chance that we will be inadvertently emulating Sweden’s herd-immunity plan. Sweden had always kept their hair salons and restaurants open, and this detailed analysis explains why it didn’t really work for either Sweden’s health *or* economy. For those of us fortunate enough to be able to work from home (or anywhere), it’ll be easier to implement these lessons and reduce risks during this ongoing pandemic. 🍀

Be safe, and have a great week!

- Xian

Originally published at



Growth rates, historical trends, and newsletter musings on COVID-19 in San Francisco.

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