CBS San Francisco Staff Report

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With a surge in coronavirus cases, the information you need to know is coming fast and furious. Here’s a roundup of the COVID stories we’ve published over the last 24 hours.

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California Confirms Over 42,000 New Cases; CDC Warns Of UK Variant Growing In State
SACRAMENTO — Health officials in Sacramento announced that California had confirmed 42,655 new COVID-19 cases as the CDC issued a dire warning about the more transmissible UK variant that has been detected in 32 cases in the state. The number of new cases marked a 1.55% increase from totals reported Thursday. The state has reported a total of 2,859,624 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began. 637 new deaths due to COVID were confirmed Friday, a 2% increase from the prior days total. The 14-day average for test positivity in California is at 12.9%. The latest numbers come as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a report regarding the potentially rapid spread of the so-called “SARS-CoV-2, B.1.1.7” variant that initially surfaced in the United Kingdom. Read More

SF Mayor London Breed Joins Bay Area Plea For More COVID-19 Vaccine; Ready To Ramp Up Distribution
SAN FRANCISCO — The most ambitious vaccine distribution ever in San Francisco’s history has begun, but to fully implement it the city’s needs more doses of vaccine — much more. San Francisco officials unveiled plans for three large vaccination sites — Moscone Center in SoMa, SF Market in the Bayview and the main campus at City College. They’re in neighborhoods that have been hardest hit by the virus. The City College site, officials said, will be ready to open by the end of next week, depending on supply. “The vaccine doses we have received remain limited. We’re ready for more doses, we need more doses, we’re asking for more doses,” said Mayor London Breed. “We can ramp up and open these sites, the minute we have these vaccines.” The city said its goal is to administer 10,000 doses per day, pending vaccine supply. Read More

Supply Constraints Thwart Rapid Rollout Across Bay Area
CONTRA COSTA COUNTY — While Bay Area health officials on Friday said they are ready to ramp up distribution of the COVID vaccine to residents, hope of more doses being available from the federal government may be a false promise. At the federal level, new questions are emerging about the national COVID vaccine stockpile and future deliveries. California is still struggling to work its way through the vaccine it does have. That is leading to tough decisions about who gets vaccinated at clinics like the one at Diablo Valley College. “It’s an incredible moment,” said Debbie Toth, President & CEO of Choice in Aging. “It’s dystopian in many ways, but I think the work is being done in Contra Costa to ensure we do the best we can with what we have.” Read More

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Santa Clara County Fears ‘Chaos’ as Vaccination Supplies Dwindle
SAN JOSE — Santa Clara County public health officials on Friday said they’re alarmed by reports the federal government has depleted its stockpile of COVID-19 vaccine — a reserve that was meant to provide a steady supply of the vaccine for the prescribed second dose. “We learned this morning that no such stockpile exists. This throws into chaos expectations around vaccine delivery,” said Santa Clara County’s Chief Counsel James Williams. Santa Clara County has significantly ramped up its distribution efforts, administering an estimated 6,000 shots a day and 30,000 shots per week. But that system was dependent on regular new shipments of the vaccine. Without those doses, the county would quickly exhaust its available supply. Read More

Class Action Suit Filed Against Bank of America Over Hacked Unemployment Debit Cards
SAN FRANCISCO — A class action suit has been filed against Bank of America for its role in the widespread fraud involving California Employment Development Department (EDD) debit cards provided by the bank to people receiving unemployment benefits. KPIX 5 first exposed how hackers took advantage of people in need. A San Francisco law firm filed the class-action lawsuit Thursday alleging a laundry list of failings by Bank of America, saying the suit is a wakeup call for the bank and that the problems could have been foreseen. Bank of America and EDD say they are working to solve what they admit is at least a $2 billion dollar fraud problem involving the debit cards. The suit alleges the bank violated the California Consumer Privacy Act, the Unfair Competition Law, parts of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, along with breach of contract with the EDD. Read More

Stimulus Check Update: ‘I Believe We Have A Moral Obligation,’ Says President-Elect Joe Biden
WASHINGTON — On Thursday evening, President-elect Joe Biden disclosed plans for a $1.9 trillion stimulus package. The American Rescue Plan aims to counter the worsening COVID-19 pandemic and support the economy that it continues to destroy. It’s three prongs include $400 billion for stopping the advance of COVID and improving the nation’s capacity for vaccinations, $1 trillion in financial support for struggling families and $440 billion to help communities and small businesses. A $1,400 stimulus check would be part of the proposal, which faces a potentially difficult road to becoming law in its current form. “I believe we have a moral obligation,” Biden said, in a speech outlining the plan. “In this pandemic in America, we cannot let people go hungry, we cannot let people get evicted, we cannot watch nurses, educators and others lose their jobs, we so badly need them. We must act now, and we must act decisively.” Read More

Bay Area Seniors Seeking COVID-19 Vaccine Face ‘Logistical Nightmare’
SAN JOSE — Some Bay Area residents over age 65 got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday but others are finding out that — just because they’re eligible — it doesn’t mean the shot is easy to get. “It ended up being two hours and 15 minutes,” said Erik Duran, describing how long he was on hold Thursday waiting to talk to someone at Kaiser to schedule an appointment for his 66-year-old mother, Susan, to get her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. “When they knew this was all going to be happening so fast, you’d think that they would start planning,” Duran said. He says when he first got on the phone, a recording told him to be prepared for a four-hour-long wait. San Francisco supervisor Matt Haney posted a tweet Thursday saying that Kaiser patients were telling him they were on hold for more than five hours. Read More

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COVID Vaccine Questions Answered: Can You Still Catch Virus After First Dose?
BOSTON — Two COVID-19 vaccines are now available to certain segments of the American public. One was released by Pfizer, and the other by Moderna. Both require two doses, separated by three to four weeks, and both are ultimately about 95 percent effective. Initially the Federal government told states that only healthcare workers and nursing home residents should be eligible to be vaccinated. But, as of this past Tuesday, anyone at least 65 years old or at least 16 years old, with a preexisting condition, have been added to the list. Individual states ultimately make their own decision, and some states are starting to include teachers and first responders as well. The initial rollout has moved more slowly than everyone has hoped for. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 25 million doses had been shipped to hospitals and pharmacies as of this past Monday. However, not even nine million of those doses have been administered. Read More