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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 Admin Announces First COVID Shots For Kids Under 5 Likely By June 21

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Covid-19 vaccination record card with syringe and vial

On Thursday, the Biden administration announced that children under 5 will be able to get their first COVID-19 vaccination doses as soon as June 21, if regulators authorize the shots for this age group as expected.

According to the Associated Press, White House COVID-19 coordinator Ashish Jha “said the Food and Drug Administration’s outside panel of advisers will meet on June 14-15 to evaluate the Pfizer and Moderna shots for younger kids. Shipments to doctors’ offices and pediatric care facilities would begin soon after FDA authorization, with the first shots possible the following week.”

Jha added that states can begin placing orders for the pediatric vaccines on Friday and the administration will initially have 10 million doses available.

“Our expectation is that within weeks every parent who wants their child to get vaccinated will be able to get an appointment,” Jha said. “At the end of the day we all want to move fast, but we’ve got to get it right.”

The news comes the week after Pfizer announced that three doses of their vaccine offers strong protection against COVID-19 in children under 5.  However, according to former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a third dose is unnecessary because the vaccines do not prevent infection.

“I think the decision matrix has changed around the vaccine for [ages] 6 months to 4 years old and so far as we know that the vaccine isn’t as protective at preventing infection,” Gottlieb said. “Previously, we had data showing that the childhood vaccine for 6 months to 4 years wasn’t as protective against infection as the adult vaccine.”

“That’s the reason why they pushed it out and asked for that third dose. But now, if the goal of the vaccine is to get baseline immunity in the kids to prevent really bad outcomes, and you’re really not using the vaccine as a tool to prevent infection in the first place, two doses could do that,” he added.

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COVID-19

Kamala Harris Tests Positive For COVID-19

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Kamala Harris

On Tuesday, the White House announced that Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for COVID-19 and is not currently showing symptoms.

“Today, Vice President Harris tested positive for COVID-19 on rapid and PCR tests,” said Kirsten Allen, press secretary to the vice president. “She has exhibited no symptoms, will isolate and continue to work from the Vice President’s residence. She has not been a close contact to the President or First Lady due to their respective recent travel schedules. She will follow CDC guidelines and the advice of her physicians. The Vice President will return to the White House when she tests negative.”

Harris wrote on Twitter that she was going to continue to isolate and is showing no symptoms.

“Today I tested positive for COVID-19. I have no symptoms, and I will continue to isolate and follow CDC guidelines. I’m grateful to be both vaccinated and boosted,” Harris tweeted.

Harris last reportedly saw President Biden at the Easter Egg Roll on April 18 before leaving for California, which she returned from on April 25.

The vice president has been vaccinated against COVID-19 and has received two booster shots, receiving the second booster on April 1.

“Yesterday I received my second COVID-19 booster shot,” Harris tweeted on April 2. “We know that getting vaccinated is the best form of protection from this virus and boosters are critical in providing an additional level of protection. If you haven’t received your first booster—do it today.”

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