Some finger-wagging is going on over at the Chronicle once more after a new video surfaced of SF Mayor London Breed dancing and cavorting with friends without a mask on at a nightclub on Thanksgiving night.
Breed was featured in an Instagram story while hanging out with friends at Great Northern last Thursday, which was hosting a show by hip-hop DJs Cream of Beat. In the video, which was reposted to Twitter on Saturday in a tsk-tsk tweet by the account Asian Crime Report.
Mayor London Breed feeling the spirit once again at a nightclub reportedly a few nights ago as our city continues towards its downward spiral with daily violence on the Asian community and numerous smash and grabs. pic.twitter.com/FvFxRwG1ri— Asian Crime Report (@activeasian) November 27, 2021
The Chronicle got a quote from Breed in response, describing the situation as "I'm at my table and drinking drinks, and I'm enjoying myself in a venue. I'm not violating a health order." And she added that she wore her mask — as most everyone does in bars and clubs these days — upon entering and exiting, and when using the restroom.
"I was in a private area with my drinks with the people I was with, enjoying myself at a venue and I had a great time and I followed the appropriate protocols. And yes, I was dancing and yes, I was drinking and having fun. And at the end of the day, I am doing everything I can to follow the existing protocols," Breed said. "And I think sadly, sometimes these videos are taking out of perspective," she added.
This latest video follows on one that received national attention in September, as the Delta surge was starting to subside in the Bay Area, in which Breed was seen dancing and singing along with maskless friends during an appearance by 90s R&B act Tony! Toni! Toné! at the Black Cat club in the Tenderloin. The subsequent dustup, started by a Chronicle article, led to Breed publicly denouncing the "fun police" who were trying to "micromanage" her behavior.
The Daily Show's Trevor Noah wasted little time in calling out Breed's hypocrisy as "bullshit" in the following days, saying, "Leaders can’t make rules that everyone has to follow, and then give us attitude when they get caught breaking their own rules."
I think after several months of these very loose mask rules in bars and clubs in SF, where proof of vaccination is demanded at the door, we can all acknowledge that no one is really following the rules to the letter — which would require everyone to be masked except while actively raising a glass or straw to their lips. For the most part, masks are being worn for a minute upon entering and maybe while ordering at bars, but not much longer than that — which makes the rule largely pointless in these often crowded indoor spaces.
But, yes, Breed is supposed to be modeling better behavior, and we could be staring down a new winter surge, so the Chronicle has run with that angle. They quote UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, who says, "As a somebody who has dealt with COVID for the past two years, I understand fatigue and the need to get out and capture the joy of pre-pandemic life. But just like the last time, I’m a little bit disappointed because it’s inside a public venue, and there are these mandates. To have the best buy-in, one has to walk the walk."
Chin-Hong acknowledges that "we all slip up," but he says that "getting through to the finish line is important" in this pandemic, and we are not there yet.
Will there ever be a finish line? That's kind of the next question. South Park recently released a "Post-Pandemic Episode" that depicts the show's child characters as all middle-aged by the time the COVID-19 pandemic actually subsides.
And yeah, it sort of feels now like we'll be coping with some level of risk and virus spread for a very long time — but let's wait and see about the Omicron business, and whether it is actually, truly, a "variant of concern".