San Francisco Mayor London Breed publicly slammed the Trump administration Tuesday for its failure of leadership with regard to the growing coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter obtained by the Chronicle and addressed to Vice President Mike Pence — whom President Trump hastily assigned to take charge of the crisis last week — Breed said that coordination between the CDC, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services was sorely lacking, and that the administration's overall response was "anemic" and "deficient" as the outbreak of the disease continues to worsen nationwide, but most urgently on the West Coast.
"The lack of test kits is a national disgrace," Breed wrote, referring to the fact that San Francisco currently only has 250 kits on hand from the CDC. "We will not be able to contain, treat, or mitigate the effects of the virus if we cannot diagnose infection." On Monday, the city announced it was opening its own public testing facility for the coronavirus in order to decrease the turnaround time for tests from seven days to one or two.
"Leadership at the federal level is imperative," Breed wrote to Pence. "We cannot wait as the window to take action to reduce community infections is closing."
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We just concluded another public update about the steps that we're taking in San Francisco to prepare for the potential spread of novel coronavirus. @SFDPH began local testing today and will be operating tests 7 days a week, shortening the turnaround time for results. The SFDPH lab will conduct the tests locally based on expanded criteria from the CDC. It is important for the public to understand that there is no on-demand testing and test kits are limited. Testing will be done only after consultation between local health officials and the CDC. We're focused on protecting our vulnerable populations, including older adults and people with multiple chronic medical conditions. We're working with providers to ensure staff and residents are educated on prevention measures and able to rapidly identify and isolate affected patients. Additionally, we continue to reach out to patients in the City’s Health Network with chronic disease or complex health needs to ensure they have their medical needs met for the next 90 days, in order to help them avoid the medical system except in cases of urgent need. We continue to expand emergency staffing support. Beginning this week, SF will activate more than 50 additional Disaster Service Workers, in addition to the more than two dozen who were activated last week. The Emergency Operations Center has developed and disseminated health & preparedness information in English, Chinese, Spanish and Filipino. In addition to these efforts, outreach staff have participated in more than 30 outreach events throughout San Francisco since late January. The best ways to reduce the risk of getting sick and prevent spread: -Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; -Cover your cough or sneeze; -Stay home if you are sick; -Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to novel coronavirus. You can prepare for possible disruption from an outbreak: -Have a supply of essential medications for your family; -Make a child care plan if you or a caregiver are sick; -Plan for how to manage a school closure; -Plan for how to care for a sick family member w/out getting sick yourself. For more information visit SF72.org.
Breed's letter went out just as the number of U.S. deaths from covid-19 rose to 9 in Washington State. Also, the California Department of Public Health announced that the number of people in CA who are self-quarantining at home after returning from China in the month of February has risen to 9,215.