CONCORD (KPIX 5) — About a month and a half ago things were looking up. The Bay Area was patting itself on its collective back for having reopened with a world-class vaccination rate.
Suddenly, it seems as if all of that wasn’t quite enough. Now the region is seeing a return of worry, uncertainty and frustration.
“It’s scary thinking about all the people that are going to be affected by this,” said Lia Garcia of Oakland. “I’m not sure about what the economy is going to be. There are a lot of uncertainties in the air.”
COVID cases are up. Masks are back. It’s pretty clear which direction things are heading.
“Yes, it seems like we’re going backwards a little bit,” said Nancy Yost of Concord.
With the sense that things are sliding backward comes a growing consensus.
“You know, I’m frustrated with people that are not vaccinated yet,” Garcia said. “Yes, I’m frustrated with that.”
San Francisco bar owners put a finer point on that sentiment this week.
“You know, the small group of, frankly, pretty selfish people who can get vaccinated and are not are putting all of our lives and livelihoods in jeopardy,” said Ben Bleiman, head of the San Francisco Bar Owner Alliance. “We’re tired of it.”
The irritation doesn’t stop with the unvaccinated.
“Yeah, it’s getting to be a little more frustrating, especially with the inconsistency of the masking and where we’re supposed to go with the next steps,” said Fred Womack of Oakland.
It is a sharp and discouraging turn from the optimism of early June, made more bitter by the sense that this turn was largely avoidable.
“It is perfectly human to have reactions that range from disappointment to being pissed off and being angry,” said Dr. Robert M. Wachter, chair of the UCSF department of medicine. “Because some of this does relate to the choices individuals are making. In the old days it might’ve been a choice they were making (about a) mask. Today it’s a choice to not vaccinate.”
But that choice still stands and there are any number of reasons holdouts could still change their minds.
“I say everybody go ahead and get the vaccination,” Yost said. “I didn’t want it but when I have 13 grandkids I’m not gonna get my babies sick.”