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COVID-19

San Francisco devastated by 3x more drug deaths than COVID deaths in 2020

The United States has undoubtedly suffered unprecedented hardship and loss over the last year as the coronavirus ravaged its way through the country. 

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The United States has undoubtedly suffered unprecedented hardship and loss over the last year as the coronavirus ravaged its way through the country. 

But, in San Francisco, one thing caused more death than the pandemic: drug overdose. 

Nearly three times as many people died from drug overdose than from the coronavirus in 2020, highlighting the city’s overwhelming drug epidemic fueled by fentanyl, according to the SF Gate. 

Specifically, that’s a whopping 699 people that died from drug overdose compared to 235 people that died from COVID, according to a new report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

Americans have been told time and time again to stay home and isolate, especially in California, which ultimately helped fuel the problem. Kristen Marshall, project manager for the city-funded Drug Overdose Prevention and Education Project, said the pandemic was behind the rise in overdose deaths. 

“The one golden rule of overuse prevention is to try to not use alone, and the shelter-in-place order said to keep yourself safe, you need to isolate,” Marshall told the SF Gate.

“That’s just the opposite. People at high risk went into isolation and that heightened the risk. The chaos put people at higher risk. The worst months were in the dead of summer when it was most chaotic for this community.” 

Of the 2020 overdose fatalities reported by the city, 26 percent occurred in the Tenderloin, a neighborhood with high drug-dealing numbers. The Inner Mission saw the second highest number of overdose deaths, coming in at 16 percent of the fatalities, according to the medical examiner’s report. 

“The volume of these types of deaths has increased – particularly in 2020 – over the last couple of years,” Dr. Luke Rodda, the office’s chief toxicologist, said in an interview with KTVU. “Every single one is someone’s loved one.” 

This rings true nationally as well.

Over 81,000 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States in the 12 months ending in May 2020, the highest number of overdose deaths ever recorded in one year period, according to the CDC.

While overdose deaths were already increasing in the months before the pandemic hit, the latest numbers show a spike in overdose deaths during the pandemic.

“The disruption to daily life due to the COVID-19 pandemic has hit those with substance use disorder hard,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield, M.D. “As we continue the fight to end this pandemic, it’s important to not lose sight of different groups being affected in other ways. We need to take care of people suffering from unintended consequences.”

Indeed, as demonstrated by the numbers in San Francisco, the extremely strict lockdown measures in big democrat-run cities do more to hurt than they do to help. 

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COVID-19

Biden Says He Doesn’t Think COVID Is ‘Here To Stay’

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Joe Biden

On Friday, President Biden said he doesn’t think that COVID-19 is here to stay, but added that he does think the virus will remain around the world.

“No, I don’t think COVID is here to stay, but having COVID in the environment here and in the world is probably here to stay,” Biden told reporters at the White House.
“COVID as we’re dealing with it now is not here to stay, the normal doesn’t have to be. We have so many more tools we developed and we continue to develop that can contain COVID and other strains of COVID,” he added.

Biden’s comments come shortly after six of his former health advisers, who helped him with the COVID-19 pandemic during his presidential transition, published three opinion articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association urging Biden to change his strategy in responding to COVID-19 to one accepting that the virus was here to stay and learning how to live with it.

“They say the first thing the administration needs to do is take a broader vision, by recognizing that Covid-19 is here to stay. In one article, Dr. Emanuel and two co-authors — Michael T. Osterholm, an epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota, and Dr. Celine Gounder, an infectious disease expert at New York University — pointedly note that in July, Mr. Biden proclaimed that ‘we’ve gained the upper hand against this virus,’ which in retrospect was clearly not the case,” The New York Times reported.

Biden’s comments suggest he has not yet listened to the advice of these experts, even as the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened to reaching over 1 million new daily cases.

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COVID-19

Former COVID Advisory Board tells Biden corona now ‘one of several circulating respiratory virus’ like flu

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Covid-19

Doctors who once advised President Biden on how to handle the coronavirus are now telling him to change his strategy via a series of published articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The six doctors, Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Michael Osterholm, Celine Gounder, David Michaels, Rick Bright and Luciana Borio were members of the advisory board that worked with Biden during his transition period before taking office.

“As the omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 demonstrates, COVID-19 is here to stay” and therefore Biden’s national strategy must be “updated.”

“The goal for the ‘new normal’ with COVID-19 does not include eradication or elimination, eg, the ‘zero COVID’ strategy. Neither COVID-19 vaccination nor infection appears to confer lifelong immunity,” they wrote.

“Current vaccines do not offer sterilizing immunity against SARS-CoV-2 infection. Infectious diseases cannot be eradicated when there is limited long-term immunity following infection or vaccination or nonhuman reservoirs of infection.”

The “new normal,” they explained, should be “recognizing that SARS-CoV-2 is but one of several circulating respiratory viruses that include influenza, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and more.”

The doctors also pointed out there are many treatments with varying levels of effectiveness such as remdesevir and dexamethasone, monoclonal antibody treatment, and oral treatments like Molnupiravir and Paxlovid.

“Finally,” Fox News reports, they said it is imperative “to rebuild trust in public health institutions and a belief in collective action in service of public health.”

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