Nearly 30% of all California monkeypox cases are right here in the City and County of San Francisco, and so our congressional rep and Speaker Nancy Pelosi is doing a phone town hall with a who’s-who of local public health figures tonight.
The latest monkeypox case numbers continue to have an alarming footnote for San Francisco; with 563 probable and confirmed cases here in the city, that makes up 29% of all the 1,945 cases in the state of California. So to try to address public concerns, or maybe just to create the impression of proactiveness, KRON4 reports via a press release that Nancy Pelosi will be hosting a telephone town hall on monkeypox today, Tuesday, August 16, at 5 p.m. PT.
The format is unusual, with no Zoom or livestream component, but it's like similar phone meetings Pelosi did during the pandemic — like one in May 2021 focused small business and restaurant recovery. The dial-in number is 833-261-6164, and according to a separate KRON4 report, the town hall “will allow citizens to ask questions to experts.” So it does sound like two-way communication with anyone who dials in.
The lineup of experts is just about the best the city has to offer. The four doctors sitting on the panel are SF health director Dr. Grant Colfax, SF health officer Dr. Susan Philip, UCSF professor of medicine Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, and SF AIDS Foundation CEO Dr. Tyler TerMeer.
“In San Francisco, we are already seeing monkeypox inflict serious harm — particularly, taking a disproportionate toll on our LGBTQ family, friends and neighbors,” Pelosi said in the press release. “As we learned from the COVID crisis, we must act swiftly and decisively to get ahead and stay ahead of this virus.”
Of course, you can do all the town hall-ing and Ted Talking that you want, the lack of available vaccines is the A-Number One Problem on the current San Francisco monkeypox landscape. That situation is improving somewhat, with weekend vaccine clinics now operating, and the lines not as tragically long as they were in recent weeks. But the city’s response is going to be limited until we have more vaccine doses, and Pelosi may be in a position to comment on federal vaccine distribution efforts.
The telephone town hall on monkeypox is Tuesday, August 16, and 5 p.m. PT, with a call-in number of 833-261-6164.
Image: @SpeakerPelosi via Twitter