“ In an editorial published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association, CDC reviewed the latest science and affirms that cloth face coverings are a critical tool in the fight against COVID-19 that could reduce the spread of the disease, particularly when used universally within communities. There is increasing evidence cloth face coverings help prevent people with COVID -19 from spreading the virus to others.”

To Mask…or Not To Mask…That Is The Question!

San Francisco is a very small city and a very important town! In general a community with more than 2,500 residents is considered a city while a town is defined as a populated area with fixed boundaries and a local government.

San Francisco is most colorfully described as an enormous health and wellness cult with a population of 769,000 immunization eligible residents over the age of 16. A village that embraces a successful community health improvement collaborative called the San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership or SFHIP. A city family that launched a strategic plan for community health improvement with performance measures for priority areas of focus including:

  1. Safe and healthy living environments
  2. Healthy eating and physical activity
  3. Access to quality health care and services
  4. African American Health Disparities
  5. Maternal, infant, child and adolescent health
  6. Health for those at risk of HIV

According to the UCSF Center for Community Engagement, San Francisco County Health Rankings are based on population health model trackings that- when improved- create healthy communities to “live, learn, work and play.” San Francisco was ranked among the healthiest counties in California on a ranking score of 75 to 100% for health outcomes in 2016…well before the COVID-19 pandemic and well before the current leadership in the City and County of San Francisco and it’s Department of Public Health. Access to exercise opportunities in San Francisco rank 100% while adult smoking and obesity are below 15% compared with California state averages approaching 25%.

San Francisco County, California/County Health Rankings & Roadmaps
Despite high county health rankings, San Francisco approach high California rankings for air pollution and particulate matter. The impact of the Northern California wildfire season must be a factor in the decision to mask…or not to mask!

A clear example is the May 11, 2021 celebratory twitter posting by Mayor London Breed announcing 75% of San Francisco residents have been vaccinated. A claim that deserves cafeful analysis and caution in light of the consternation generated by the May 14, 2021 CDC proclamation that, “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing, except where required by federal state, local, tribal, or territorial rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.”

Tracking California COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution

The fact is that of an estimated 768,000 San Francisco residents over the age of 16… only 75% have received one vaccine dose and only 56% of San Franciscans are fully vaccinated…a percentage slightly higher than the California average of 50% as reported by the LA Times.

It’s like deja vu all over again in the words of Hall of Famer Yogi Berra in the aftermath of the CDC declaration that fully vaccinated Americans can drop their masks in most settings.
In honor of the 27 World Series titles won by the Yankees including an MLB-record 10 by Berra two of the top 10 best Yogi-isms are “It’s deja vu all over again” and “You can observe a lot by wathcing”.

According to the May 14, 2021 New York Times article, Why the C.D.C. Changed Its Advice on Masks, federal health officials proclamation that fully vaccinated Americans could go maskless in both outdoor and indoor settings came as a surprise to many…from an anxious public to government officials and scientific experts. “Even the White House got less than a day’s notice”, stated White House press secretary Jen Psaki in a news briefing that Friday.

“The CDC, the doctors and medical experts there, are the ones who determined what this guidance would be based on their own data, and what the timeline would be,” Ms. Psaki said. “That was not a decision directed or made by the White House”.

And that’s what we should expect from independent federal health officials. Perhaps the CDC is flexing it’s muscle and asserting independence in the aftermath of it’s subjugation by the tyrannical oversight of the Trump admininistration…or perhaps it’s just deja vu all over again!

Many will recall that in mid May of 2020 there was considerable consternation over the benefits of even wearing a mask. It was not until July 14, 2020 that the CDC issued the press release calling on Americans to “wear masks to prevent COVID-19 spread” with the cheery message “Americans are increasingly adopting the use of cloth face masks to slow the spread of COVID — 19, and the latest science may convince even more to do so”.

Science Not Politics: How Dr. Rochelle Walensky is Saving the CDC — photo by Anne Leibowitz — Vogue March 2021

The simplest explanation for the national declaration issued by CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, M.D., M.P.H, lies in major scientific findings that guided the decision. The first is that while vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing coronavirus infections, very few fully vaccinated people become infected and fully vaccinated people do not appear to transmit infection. The second is the effectiveness of vaccines against the range of COVID-19 variants. The third and most obvious is the incentive to boost immunizations rates in the face of lost momentum and to advance debate surrounding the safety and ethics of vaccinating young children.

A discarded face mask in the street in San Francisco on Wednesday March 17, 2021. Disposable masks, glovers and personal protective equipment have saved lives during the pandemic but have created a global environmental problem by littering the streets and bombarding our oceans and landfills with an influce of harmful plastics and synthetic chemicals. AP Photo by Jeff Chiu

California officials were gagged silent by the CDC decision announced on May 14, 2021 over what Governor Gavin Newsom called “complexities around enforcement and lack thereof.”

Newsom- facing a recall challenge from critics demanding to “set Californians free from masks” — had announced a lifting of the mast mandate and opening the state economy by June 15th. The CDC decision raises the inevitable specter of “vaccine passports”, infringements on medical privacy laws and civil liberties in travel and unleases the environmental nightmare of the mass disposal of contaminated masks, gloves and protective equipment in our oceans and landfills.

Medical Director - Golden State MD Health & Wellness. UCSF/Stanford Author & Researcher. PI HP Biomonitoring. Certified Clinical Nutritionist. PoliticoMD!

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