ProPublica is out with their immense, enormous, almost overwhelming report on the first 3 months of dealing with the virus: Two Coasts. One Virus..
But from January on, her chief of staff, Sean Elsbernd, would scarcely let a day go by without bringing it up. Elsbernd and the director of public health, Dr. Grant Colfax, reminded Breed that her city had one of the largest Chinese American communities in the country. They thus paid close attention as the numbers of infected grew exponentially in Wuhan and the virus made its way across Europe.
Colfax was particularly well-suited to recognize the threat early. He was inspired to enter the medical profession some 30 years earlier by the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on the gay community in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before Breed chose him to lead her Health Department, Colfax had worked in the Obama White House from 2012 to 2014, where he was the director of the Office of National AIDS Policy. He had been involved in response efforts to Ebola and SARS. He was plugged into the world-renowned epidemiology community in the area.
I think there can be no dispute that the Bay Area led the way in encouraging the rest of the country to take the threat seriously.
I only wish we could have been even more successful at getting that message across.
Here at home, where Alameda County continues to struggle to get its caseload under control, I am definitely concerned about what will happen in the upcoming months. I am lucky that I can continue to shelter at home while still working my regular hours, for the foreseeable future.
So I will.