This can't be said for the Bay Area families who are mourning the loss of loved ones from the COVID-19 pandemic, but for the region at large September has been a good month when it comes to the numbers.
Much as happened in other parts of the country, the nine-county Bay Area saw a significant rise in new cases and hospitalizations in the months of July and August. But through some combination of better adherence to public health guidance — mask-wearing, distancing, sticking to the outdoors — and luck, the spread of the coronavirus has slowed in the last three to four weeks.
The Bay Area reached the milestone of 100,000 cumulative confirmed positive cases on Thursday. But through the combined efforts of everyday citizens and public health officials, the mortality rate from COVID-19 in our region has been significantly lower than other regions in the country have seen. The actual number of people infected over the last six months isn't known — by some early estimates, the number of cumulative infections is at least five times the number of positive tests, therefore we likely just crossed the half-million mark in the Bay Area, or thereabouts. That is still far from herd immunity range, at just 6.4 percent.
The Bay Area's COVID mortality rate via the confirmed case numbers stands at 1.4 percent, while San Francisco's is the lowest of any major city at 0.87 percent — with 99 total deaths to date. As shown in this chart released this week, the Bay Area's rate of 1.4 percent is still below the city with the second-lowest mortality rate, Miami, which is 1.6 percent.
As SFist reported back in August, the summer spike came fast and hard, even though the Bay Area didn't see the worst of it by far. It took our region three months to reach 25,000 total positive cases, and then that number tripled to 75,000 in just six weeks. But the curve is once again flattening.
According to this interactive tool from Georgia Tech statisticians, if you are in a group of 10 people these days in any Bay Area county, the odds that there's a COVID-positive person among you are between 5 and 7 percent. That is down from 15 percent "seroprevalance" back in early August. Raise the group number to 25 people and in San Francisco, the chance of someone there being positive is now 1 in 10, or 11 percent.
Hospitalizations have been trending downward in all nine counties, though not dropping extremely rapidly — and today's hospital census popped up by 1.2 percent to 524. Still, there are now 46-percent fewer COVID patients in Bay Area hospitals as there were on July 31.
And we've seen some unsettling spikes in deaths, which represent the remaining fallout from the summer spike in cases and hospitalizations. Since September 1, there have been over 310 COVID deaths in the Bay Area, whereas in the month of June there were 134.
New cases per day are hovering around 540, on average, in the last 14 days — and only 61 per day in San Francisco, down from an average of 96 per day in July and August. For this reason, SF officials expect to see the city enter the "orange" tier of the state's reopening guidance by next week.
SF is now processing about 3,900 COVID tests per day, and the city's positivity rate has dropped 2.07 percent, down from 3.9 percent in July.
Officials continue to say we are not out of the woods, and indeed complacency can kill us with this virus.
Don't throw parties. Don't go to parties. Don't be indoors with strangers with your masks off unless you're pretty far away and the windows are open!