SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — With concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant on the rise, San Francisco officials on Thursday sounded the alarm to residents who have not been vaccinated yet.
According to San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, the city has seen a threefold increase in COVID cases in just the past 12 days.
- UPDATE: San Francisco Bay Area Health Officials Urge All Residents To Voluntarily Wear Masks Indoors
San Francisco Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax called the Delta variant “COVID on steroids” and expressed some real concerns of inequity along racial lines.
“The Delta variant is COVID on steroids. This virus is far more infectious than the COVID we were dealing with a year ago,” said Dr. Colfax.
The latest confirmed numbers for San Francisco as of July 7th indicated the city had a seven-day average of 42 new COVID cases reported daily. The SF Department of Public Health said SF had at least 70 new cases on July 6.
The last date for near-reliable data is July 8 with at least 92 new cases.
At the start of July, San Francisco was averaging only ten daily cases.
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While still a far cry from January’s high average of 373 new cases daily, Mayor London Breed said the new uptick is focused on unvaccinated minorities.
“What we will see, what the data shows us is that with this new Delta variant, we will see higher infections of those not vaccinated and we can anticipate there will be at least 250 more deaths. And disproportionately, those people will be African Americans and Latinos,” said Breed
All of the 19 people currently hospitalized for COVID-19 were unvaccinated, officials said.
“I’m scared for the black community, scared for people 25-to-40 years old, and I’m scared for people refusing to get the vaccine,” said President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Shamon Walton.
Of all districts, Bayview Hunters Point has the highest case rate by far at more than 1,000 cases per 10,000 residents.
Case rates are two and a half-times higher among African American and LatinX communities in San Francisco, according to city officials.
But as city officials desperately plead for more to get inoculated, the vaccination rate in the Bayview is actually very high, with at least 80% of residents receiving at least one dose.
“What they experienced as far as racism and discrimination and concerns about trust in the vaccination process we know that that is real,” said Breed.
According to the latest data on the city’s dashboard, an estimated 60% of African American residents across the city have received at least one dose.
For residents identifying as White or Caucasian, it’s only a few percentage points higher at 65%.
As California marks one month since the state dropped most COVID restrictions and allowed businesses to reopen completely, there are concerns that the Delta variant could force the return of some restrictions if cases continue to increase.
Businesses are particularly worried about the possibility increased indoor activity restrictions or even another shutdown.
The Delta variant is driving significant surges across the country, with new cases up at least 10% in almost every state.
Though California has largely been a model of success as far as the percentage of residents who have been vaccinated, there are parts of the state that are struggling.
Across California, there have been more than 3.7 million cases of COVID.
Around 3,600 of those were reported in the last 24 hours. The 7-day positivity rate is 3.5% for the state.
Los Angeles County has seen a significant surge in cases with more than 1,000 new COVID cases confirmed every day over the last week.
On Thursday, officials reported an additional 1,537 cases and three deaths.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID in L.A. County jumped to 452 on Thursday, up from 406 on Wednesday. Of those hospitalized, 96 are in intensive care units.
On Thursday, L.A. County officials released new health order requiring masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. The new order goes into effect on Saturday night at 11:59 p.m.
Doctors keep offering reassurance that anyone who has been vaccinated should be protected from the delta variant, though the CDC says no vaccine is a hundred percent effective.
Kenny Choi contributed to this report.