Sean Nozzari, deputy director of traffic operations for the California Department of Transportation in the Bay Area told “Civic” that when the spring 2020 lockdown began, “the amount of travel initially dropped maybe 80%. But it started building up, and around December of 2020 it started going up steadily to a point that the amount of travel that takes place on our freeways is pretty much about what we had before.”
North East Medical Services has multiple clinics in San Francisco and around the Bay Area, serving some 70,000 patients at 10 clinics in the region, many of whom are low-income Chinese speakers. Kenneth Tai, chief health officer, and Jessica Ho, government affairs and community liaison for North East Medical Services, talked with “Civic” about their vaccine distribution strategy.
A series of violent crimes against Asian seniors in the Bay Area has sparked concern and calls to action, including public gatherings. In San Francisco and Oakland, organizers arranged for socially distanced events over the weekend to emphasize the need for additional resources and services to advance public safety.
At this year’s SF Urban Film Fest, several programs examining homelessness include activities in which participants will be asked to connect with perfect strangers. In one case, they’ll be prompted to write love notes or put together care packages. Multimedia journalist Yesica Prado and Fay Darmawi, the film festival’s founder and executive director, curated the events and discussed on “Civic” how participants might gain new perspectives on homelessness.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed said Monday that the state’s decision to lift an emergency lockdown order to contain the COVID-19 surge is “good news’’ and a “cause for celebration” even as she cautioned residents that “we have to just use common sense and continue to just accept that we are going to be living with this for some time.” City leaders expect San Francisco to be placed in the purple tier, which will once again allow outdoor dining, limited indoor personal services — if clients and patrons can both wear masks — more capacity in retail stores and the reopening of outdoor museums, zoos, skate parks and golf courses.
As the pandemic stretches into its second year, an estimated 278,000 households, or roughly one-quarter of the Bay Area’s 1.1 million renters, have little or no confidence they will be able to make next month’s rent, according to a San Francisco Public Press analysis of Census Bureau data. An estimated 60,000 renters living in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco counties who were behind on their rent in mid-December said they feared eviction in the next 60 days.
Journalists have also found it difficult to get answers to questions from various city departments during the pandemic. The San Francisco Public Press hosted a roundtable discussion with local reporters about the difficulties they have experienced in accessing public information.
“Unless you are building this specifically with the marginalized and vulnerable groups, it’s hard to build any system like this that does anything but further oppress people who are already under the thumb of various other structures and various other bureaucracies and powers,” said research fellow Ali Alkhatib.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday that hospitals need to get ready for what he described as a potential “surge on top of a surge, arguably on top of another surge” of COVID-19 cases stemming from the holidays. In the Bay Area, hospitals still have some ICU capacity left, but health care practitioners are working hard to care for the influx of COVID-19 patients. The surge is leaving workers stretched thin and patients isolated.
As San Francisco receives doses of a vaccine against COVID-19, residents must continue to take precautions against transmission as a surge in infections continues, the director of the Department of Public Health at a Monday press briefing in which most journalists’ questions were left unanswered.
Rents may be falling, but the Bay Area is still unaffordable and has for years fallen short of its housing construction goals. The construction shortfall is particularly pronounced in subsidized housing. While the pandemic is changing the way people work and socialize and has resulted in economic downturn, acquiring land and building remain expensive. Sarah Karlinsky, senior advisor at the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association, a public policy think tank better known as SPUR, has published a report indicating that Bay Area municipalities should be constructing 45,000 units of housing per year.