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San Francisco mayor orders strict new lockdowns as pandemic spirals

EconomyDec 04, 2020 11:42PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paramus, New Jersey 2/2

By Dan Whitcomb and Doina Chiacu

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The mayor of San Francisco on Friday ordered new lockdowns and business restrictions across the Bay Area in the face of the COVID-19 surge, as political leaders nationwide ramp up pressure on Americans to stay home until vaccines can be distributed.

The new measures announced by Mayor London Breed, a first-term Democrat, apply across five Bay Area counties and are among the harshest of any major U.S. city, closing all personal services, outdoor dining and most public gatherings.

"What we are seeing in our city, our region, our state and our country is a virus that is taking over," Breed, 46, said in announcing the new clamp down.

California Governor Gavin Newsom, also a Democrat, said on Thursday he would impose similar stay-at-home orders statewide, to take effect region-by-region as intensive care beds reach capacity.

Breed said she was unwilling to wait for Newsom's mandate to take effect in the Bay Area, adding: "If you're not working to stay ahead of this virus you're falling far, far behind and very quickly."

Starting at 10 p.m. this Sunday, San Francisco will close all outdoor dining, outdoor playgrounds, zoos and aquariums along with other measures, according to a statement on the mayor's website.

"Low contact retail such as pet grooming, electronics or shoe repair services, may only operate in a curbside drop-off context," the statement read. "All other retail, including grocery stores must reduce capacity to 20%."

Both Newsom and Breed have been criticized after dining on separate nights in November at the same posh Napa County restaurant, the French Laundry, despite repeatedly admonishing Californians to avoid such outings.

More than 213,830 new cases and 2,861 deaths were reported on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally of official data. With U.S. COVID-19 hospitalizations also at record levels, some experts project the death toll could soon surpass 3,000 per day.

The University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation now projects nearly 539,000 COVID-19 deaths by April 1, almost double the current death toll, even as vaccines start to become available.

'FIRST IN LINE'

The spiraling pandemic has prompted state and national political leaders to order increasingly aggressive countermeasures while Americans wait for governmental approval of vaccines developed by drug companies Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA)

The two medications could soon receive emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, clearing the way for the inoculation of some 20 million Americans by the end of the year, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

"I will be first in line and I will encourage my family to take this vaccine," Hahn said.

The U.S. government's first shipment of a vaccine will be shared among states and federal agencies, including the Department of Defense. But it will fall far short of protecting high priority groups such as healthcare workers, a Reuters analysis has found.

"For the time being, and the foreseeable future, the demand for vaccines is going to exceed the supply by a lot, even for the highest priority groups that are identified," said Josh Michaud, the Kaiser Family Foundation's associate director of global health policy.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the White House coronavirus task force, said on Friday he expected to see another surge in infections following the Thanksgiving holiday, when many Americans traveled to visit family.

"We really have to intensify our public health measures," Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC's "Today" show.

Fauci also said he has accepted President-elect Joe Biden's offer to be his chief medical adviser.

Biden, a Democrat who defeated Donald Trump in the November election, has said that upon taking office on Jan. 20 he would enact mask mandates where he has authority, such as federal buildings and for interstate travel.

"On the first day I'm inaugurated ... I'm going to ask the public for 100 days to mask, just 100 days to mask, not forever, 100 days," Biden told CNN in an interview on Thursday.

Biden also told CNN he would get vaccinated publicly, as former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have pledged, in order to boost public confidence in the medications.

The latest IHME projection showed that if mask-wearing increased to 95%, combined with the expected vaccine rollout, approximately 66,000 lives could be saved, compared to a vaccine rollout scenario with current mask-wearing levels remaining the same," it said in a news release.

"Even with a vaccine, if states do not act to bring current surges under control, the death toll could reach 770,000 by April 1," the IHME news release said.

San Francisco mayor orders strict new lockdowns as pandemic spirals
 

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Comments (10)
Samui Lo
Samui Lo Dec 05, 2020 4:30AM ET
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this kind of news is never announced during market hours
Ethan Strong
Ethan Strong Dec 05, 2020 3:54AM ET
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Do as I say. Not as I do. You can't find two more pompous arrogant and corrupt politicians as these two. They'll be perfect for Washington in the coming years.
Harry Wilson
Harry Wilson Dec 05, 2020 2:45AM ET
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But Fauci said in March no masks needed. he can't have it both ways.
David David
David9 Dec 05, 2020 1:50AM ET
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I say good luck .... if people still think this is a flu, and wearing a mask is against their freedom, and they still see hope that Trump won, then buckle up ... we're in for a long winter....
David David
David9 Dec 05, 2020 1:48AM ET
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I told you guys... we do not know how to do containment here.... with still stupid people thinking wearing a mask is against their freedom, they have to gather and have fun, they still think this is nothing but a flu.... good luck ...
wayne smith
wayne smith Dec 05, 2020 1:48AM ET
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https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/who-official-urges-world-leaders-to-stop-using-lockdowns-as-primary-virus-control-method/ar-BB19TBUo
perplexed76 .
perplexed76 . Dec 05, 2020 12:30AM ET
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tell him that Biden already won and virus is a fake.
Troy Coureton
Troy Coureton Dec 04, 2020 10:38PM ET
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Market will not like that.
my name
my name Dec 04, 2020 10:38PM ET
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market does not matter! ONLY FED MATTERS...
Mike Machado
Mike Machado Dec 04, 2020 10:38PM ET
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Bad news, markets go up. Good news, markets go up. Not a true market.
perplexed76 .
perplexed76 . Dec 04, 2020 10:38PM ET
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my name  FED communism
Darryl Allen
Darryl Allen Dec 04, 2020 2:57PM ET
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Dr. Fauci once published a research paper about how wearing masks killed people during the Spanish Flu epidemic. Masks increase your risk of upper respiratory tract infection, which is a comorbidity of COVID-19.
my name
my name Dec 04, 2020 2:57PM ET
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source?
Muhamed Jaffir
Muhamed Jaffir Dec 04, 2020 1:03PM ET
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Good luck with your fast tracked vaccine that Pharma has no liability for. I'll abstain thanks.
Tru Gfu
Tru Gfu Dec 04, 2020 10:58AM ET
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some pretty sloppy fact checking.the institute is at the University Of Washington in Seattle NOT Washington University which is in St. Louis. lame on many levels.after 9 months of this you'd think people would know the diff. between Seattle and St. Louis.
 
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