San Francisco Chronicle
The S.F. rate 8 times higher for the unvaccinated, health officials say.
Coronavirus cases in San Francisco are up among the vaccinated and unvaccinated, but those who have received their shots are still very unlikely to become hospitalized, according to new data from the city’s department of public health.
The data show that San Francisco is averaging 176 new cases per week, which is 10 times higher than the average in early June, before the state reopened and cases were at a low point. The average case rate per 100,000 for the vaccinated is 16.2, compared to 36.8 for the unvaccinated.
The unvaccinated are still suffering the brunt of the surge — case rates among the unvaccinated are more than double that of vaccinated individuals, and hospitalization rates among the unvaccinated are eight times higher.
San Francisco’s data includes people who have only gotten one shot of a twovaccine dose in the unvaccinated group.
San Francisco is one of the more highly vaccinated cities in the nation, with 77% of eligible residents fully vaccinated. That means that breakthrough infections are more likely, Dr. Grant Colfax, the San Francisco director of health, said.
“We would expect to see breakthroughs,” he said. “But the vaccines are still working. … Even with the delta variant being so prevalent now, if you’re vaccinated, you’re very unlikely to be hospitalized for COVID19.”
Out of 3,000 San Franciscans who have been hospitalized with COVID19, only 16 were fully vaccinated, he said. There have been no deaths among the fully vaccinated.
San Francisco’s data aligns with new data from the national Centers for Disease Control that shows that breakthrough infections are not as rare as previously thought, Colfax said.
Still, the uptick in cases will likely lead to an indoor mask mandate in the city, Colfax said, echoing San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s comments on Wednesday. A mandate will be decided early next week.
But while masks will slow the spread, Colfax reiterated that the only way out of the pandemic is through increased vaccinations.
“This is something that people need to do for their own health and also for the health of people around them,” he said.
He added that there’s evidence that delta variant — which he called “COVID on steroids” — leads to more serious complications than previous strains, underscoring the importance of the vaccine.
There have not been any major outbreaks among children who are not yet eligible to get vaccinated, officials said, and the health department still supports a return to inperson learning in the fall.
But if the vaccination rate continues to stagnate, cases, hospitalizations and deaths will continue to rise, Colfax said. He estimated that this would result in 250 more deaths of San Franciscans — 95% of which would have been preventable if more eligible people were vaccinated.
“This is a whole new ballgame with delta,” he said. “It means doubling down on getting vaccinated as quickly as possible.”