Mayor Breed and Dr. Grant Colfax urged San Franciscans to “get your booster,” but announced no new restrictions in response to the Omicron variant arriving here, as a heckler tried to shout them down.
In response to today's jarring news of the first U.S. case of the COVID-19 Omicron variant being found In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed and public health director Dr. Grant Colfax held a joint press conference on the steps of City Hall Wednesday afternoon. The big takeaway is that despite the arrival of this seemingly more infectious variant, they will not be adding any new rules or restrictions, nor curbing any activities, as we did a year ago this time when cases were surging. “We have discovered our first [Omicron variant] case, not only here in San francisco, but the entire country,” Breed said (maskless, but so was Colfax, and this was outdoors). “The overall message to the public is to get vaccinated.”
Going live soon to discuss the detection of the first case of the Omicron variant in the United States. https://t.co/SGL3TYQY5m— London Breed (@LondonBreed) December 1, 2021
Breed and Colfax were heckled throughout their remarks by some rube shouting about his website and rambling aloud at full blast about some “$200 million lawsuit, right there, for looking at my asshole, following a 35-minute chokehold!”
“Are there any questions?,” Breed asked, to an uncomfortably silent audience as the fellow kept screaming about this 35-minute chokehold. No one managed to shut him up throughout the proceedings.
But health director Dr. Grant Colfax did most of the talking, and said there would be no changes, for now, to the current public health orders. “We do not anticipate changing any of our health orders or changing any current restrictions, or imposing new restrictions on activities in San Francisco,” he said.
“I want to emphasize that this is not a surprise,” he said of the Omicron variant’s arrival in our city, “We knew that Omicron was going to be here. We thought it was already here. We just hadn't detected it yet. So this is cause for concern, but it is also certainly not a cause for us to panic. We are prepared here in the city for this.”
Health officer Dr. Susan Philip emphasized that she couldn’t give much detail about the infected patient for privacy reasons, but referred to them as a “previously healthy individual.” She added that their “symptoms were mild, and they did not have to be hospitalized.”
We do know that the patient had traveled to South Africa and had the full two doses of the Modena shot, but no booster. Per Colfax, they “thankfully have now recovered.”
“There’s still a lot we do not know about Omicron,” Colfax said. “We don’t know how infectious it is, although there is a strong likelihood that it is more infectious than Delta. We don’t know how sick it will make people, but that is being studied furiously around the world. And we don’t know yet how fully effective the vaccines are in protecting against transmission or serious cases of illness or hospitalizations due to Omicron.”
We continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, get boosted, and take steps to keep each other safe.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) December 1, 2021
He added that “San Francisco is relatively well-positioned to respond to variants. Our vaccine rates are high. More boosters are going into arms every day.”
“Most experts that I have spoken to believe that the vaccines will still be of critical importance in protecting ourselves, our families, and our community,” he said. “Get your booster if you’re eligible. Continue to wear those masks inside where required.”
“I don't want us to get overly focused on ‘When’s the next case coming, when’s the next case going to be detected?’,” he concluded. “We should all be acting as hopefully we were yesterday, which is that Omicron is here, we need to get those vaccines and boosters, get tested if you’ve had symptoms or know you’ve been exposed, and continue to wear those masks.”
We hope Mayor Breed listens to that advice.
Related: First U.S. Case of Omicron Variant Found In San Francisco [SFist]
Image: Screenshot via Youtube