Why is the rate of SF COVID cases so much higher than the US now?

Earlier this spring, the city’s rates of confirmed new cases were higher than those in the United States. Then, on May 3, San Francisco’s case rate doubled that of the United States as of May 10, the national daily case rate was about 23 new cases per 100,000 people. , while the rate in San Francisco was 42 per 100,000, according to data from the New York Times analyzed by The Chronicle.

Peter Chin-Hong, an infectious disease expert at UCSF, said San Francisco’s current high case rates are likely because the city has been relatively protected from the disease over the past two years, along with city residents being exposed to more risks as the local pandemic era. Restrictions and messages vanished.

You can only protect yourself for this long,” Qin Hong said. “Once people get tired or bored for various reasons, and you get moving, you will put yourself at increased risk.”

Since San Francisco has done such a good job of preventing its residents from contracting most of the epidemic, it shows that fewer San Francisco residents have acquired immunity to past diseases, so they are generally more likely to contract COVID-19 at present than other San Francisco residents. residing in other regions. cities.

He added that while a larger proportion of San Franciscans are vaccinated than the United States as a whole, COVID-19 vaccines are becoming less effective at preventing infection as strains of the coronavirus mutate.

While the COVID-19 rush isn’t good news at all, Chin-Hong said that so far, at least, the increase in case rates has not led to a corresponding significant increase in hospitalization — likely due to the number of vaccinated and boosted San Franciscans. . Vaccines may have become less effective against protecting against infection as the virus mutates, but they are still excellent at preventing severe disease and death.

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“If you have to choose one evil over another, then choose the ones who don’t really get sick,” Qin Hong said.

The number of hospitalizations in San Francisco has increased since April, but is still significantly lower than previous waves, according to city data. The city’s average hospitalization rate as of May 9 was 6.4 per 100,000 people, higher than the current US rate of 4.5 per 100,000 people, but a smaller gap than would be expected given the difference in case rates.

A similar phenomenon is driving within San Francisco at the neighborhood level: Right now, for the first time since the pandemic began, the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods have experienced a sustained period of higher infection rates than those with lower incomes.

Chronicle Previously mentionedprobably because previous waves, particularly the January tidal wave, gave lower-income neighborhoods an immune boost that helps them fight this current surge.

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