Experts Advise Caution, Not Fear, as COVID Infections Rise in San Francisco – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — COVID cases have slowly but steadily ticked up across the majority of the Bay Area since mid-March.

In San Francisco, the 7-day average test positivity rate is at 5.2 percent. On March 16, the 7-day test positivity rate was 2.4 percent.

Still, many people who live in the Bay Area aren’t as concerned about this case increase as they were about previous spikes.

“I think folks’ attitudes have changed about it in terms of maybe not being as fearful about it. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing,” said Gerard Ayala, a San Francisco resident. “I think my attitude has changed as well. Maybe not as fearful now that I have had it and have been through the experience.”

Although cases are on the rise, UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong doesn’t want to classify what’s happening right now as a surge.

“We have a very dramatic decoupling so far between what we see in the community and what we see in the hospitals. Of course, hospitalizations lag cases in the community, traditionally, but these cases have been going up for some time and we still haven’t seen a big impact in the hospitals,” Dr. Chin-Hong said. “I think two weeks would give enough time to make sure that lag won’t be reflected in the hospitals.”

Even so, Chin-Hong thinks the increasing number of infections will impact the region.

“You will see disruptions in the community with positive cases — people taken out of the workforce,” he said. “It is possible that test positivity is even higher but it’s uncertain because we don’t really know who’s getting tested officially compared to who’s getting tested at home.”

Here’s how Chin-Hong described the current situation.

“It’s actually more akin to what people are hoping to have at the end of the day: an endemic phase. It’s just that I wouldn’t want to call it an endemic yet because it’s not predictable what the next new variant will do long after this recent BA.1 surge followed by BA.2. It’s like a one-two punch, which is very different than, ‘punch, wait a while — everyone’s immunity goes down — and then punch again,’” he said.

The doctor’s advice?

“Don’t be afraid but engage with life responsibly,” he said. “Generally, I wear at least a surgical mask in an indoor crowded space.”

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