SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — More disturbing data about the surge of COVID-19 — since the beginning of June, San Francisco has seen a 10-fold increase in cases, and the rate of increase is higher than the three previous surges.
“We are now averaging 176 cases of COVID a day and that compares to a low of 12 where we were late this spring and early this summer,” San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said.
Hospitalizations are also up with rates among the unvaccinated 8 times higher… and all this is happening in a city where 77% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated
“What it says we are dealing with a different virus than six months ago,” UCSF Dept. of Medicine Dr. Robert Wachter said. “This is significantly nastier than we were used to and we have to get the vaccine rate up significantly higher than what we thought that target would be.”
Dr. Wachter says not only do new studies show the delta variant is more severe, but now vaccinated people can pass it others. That’s why he supports an indoor mask mandate for everyone.
“All of us thought we were out of this pickle it’s natural people to be unhappy about this. I am not happy about talking about it but those are the fact on the ground and you have to respond to the changes.”
San Francisco is in discussion with surrounding counties about an indoor mask mandate and Dr. Colfax says that will likely be instituted next week. In the meantime, he had a warning for the most vulnerable.
“If you are vulnerable to COVID-19, 65 or older or have other co-morbid conditions I would be cautious about how I engage now in public and in settings that would put me at risk for COVID-19,” he said.
The fear of long term COVID is another reason to mask and get vaccinated according to Dr. Wachter. He cites an Israeli study which found 19% still having symptoms six weeks after infection.