Mayor London Breed on Tuesday called Gov. Gavin Newsom’s appointment of Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Vice-President-Elect Kamala Harris “unfortunate.”
“The sad reality is she was the only African American woman in the Senate at this time,” said Breed, describing the decision as a blow to the African American community, to African-American women and to women in general. “It’s an unfortunate situation as we are trying to move this country forward and making sure that Black lives truly matter and that African Americans have a seat at the table, especially African American women, after what was done in this race on a national level. Definitely it’s unfortunate.”
Padilla’s appointment will make him the first Latino Senator in California history.
Breed made the remarks at a press conference in which she urged San Franciscans to stay home this holiday and take seriously the increasingly dire surge in COVID-19 cases filling up hospital Intensive care units across the state.
For much of the year, San Francisco and Bay Area leaders had prided themselves on keeping infection rates low. The region was the first in the country to implement a lockdown and education campaign, when it became clear that the coronavirus posed a threat to the United States.
San Francisco Health and Human Services Director Dr. Grant Colfax was asked why San Francisco is being hit hard now. “Across the state, cases have increased by a staggering 96% over the last two weeks, and the entire state is experiencing widespread transmission of the virus,” he said. “What this means locally is that many behaviors we have gotten away with in the spring or summer are much riskier. Now, there is so much more virus out there that the likelihood of coming into contact with someone asymptomatic with the virus but still infectious remains higher. ”
He said the good news is that the decision to once again ban some activities after Thanksgiving has helped. “Two weeks ago, when we started the limited stay at home order, our cases were increasing on an average of 8% every day. Today, our cases are increasing on average at 2% per day,”
he said, noting that the change is an improvement, but the goal is to get the rate decreasing. “Even if we were to continue at this current rate, our situation would be very dire in the next few months.”
Breed pointed to other hopeful signs, including the arrival of vaccines. “We started vaccinating our paramedics, the people who are going to be out on the streets to save lives,” she said. “This week, we are receiving more shipments of the Pfizer vaccine, as well as the newly approved Moderna vaccine.”
She added that the COVID-19 relief bill passed by Congress will also help. “While the deal is imperfect, there are some real bright lights for our city, including support for our small businesses through the extension of the PPP loans,” said Breed, referring to the federal paycheck protection program. “And it’s supposed to be a lot easier for small businesses to apply than it was the first time. There’s direct support for our entertainment and theater venues.”
She added, “We have a long way to go. So, please keep doing what you’re doing.”