Community Clinics Cross Language, Digital Divides to Distribute Vaccine

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.

Community groups organized a gathering at San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza to call for increased investment in social services in response to recent violent attacks on Asian Americans.

After Violent Attacks, Community Groups Call for Social Services, Solidarity

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.

Love Notes, Care Packages as Film Fest Reflects on Homelessness

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.

California has lifted its emergency lockdown order, and San Francisco will get official word on its new tier assignment Tuesday. City leaders expect San Francisco to be placed in the purple tier, which will once again allow outdoor dining. In October, Cheese Plus installed canvas dividers between tables along its Pacific Avenue sidewalk in the city’s Russian Hill neighborhood.

Lockdown Ends — Outdoor Dining, Other Restrictions to Be Lifted

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.

A woman chats on her phone, wearing a mask,while walking down Ocean Avenue in early January.She strolls pass a mural highlighting, “Ingleside Pride,” painted on a closed medical business. Residents in the neighborhoods of Ingleside, Excelsior, Mission and the Tenderloin are struggling to continue paying rent.Despite the region’s high rents, the percentage of San Francisco area residents who are behind on their rent is lower than the national average.

One-Quarter of Bay Area Tenants Say They Can’t Pay the Rent

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.

Photo courtesy of Ali Alkhatib.

Social Media Content Moderation Is Not Neutral, USF Researcher Says

“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.

Ensign Kaitlyn Leibing, right, a staff nurse assigned to one of Naval Medical Center San Diego’s internal medicine wards, helps Hospitalman Angela Mello don personal protective equipment before entering a COVID-19-positive, non-critical patient’s room on Aug. 4, 2020.

Doctors Work Through Coronavirus Surge, Stress, Patient Isolation as Vaccines Arrive

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.

Sarah Karlinsky. Courtesy of SPUR

To Address Housing Crisis, Expert Says, Consider Housing a Human Right

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.