Omicron touches down in SF, first confirmed US case
12.1.21 * Circulation 3,352 * 167 members
Hey there, San Francisco.
Well, you might have heard the news. So let’s get right into it…
Top Story: One thing you should know
On Wednesday, national and local health officials confirmed that the first case of the omicron coronavirus in the US was detected in a San Francisco resident who returned from a trip to South Africa in late November. White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the person only had mild symptoms and that those symptoms “appear to be improving.”
“The individual is self-quarantining, and all close contacts have been contacted and...thus far, have tested negative,” Fauci said.
According to officials, the individual had received two doses of the Moderna vaccine, but no booster shot.
On the steps of City Hall on Wednesday, San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said: “This is not a surprise. We knew that omicron was going to be here...This is cause for concern. It’s not cause for us to panic. We are prepared in the city for this.”
Two days ago, prolific tweeter and Chair of UCSF’s Department of Medicine, Bob Wachter also seemed to anticipate that the omicron variant would soon be found in the city. His advice: Get vaccinated, get boosted, and be careful until we know more.
As a reminder, here’s a list of vaccination and booster sites across the city.
Quick bits: Bite-sized news stories from across the city
🏘 On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved legislation that sets aside $64 million for a program that works to prevent tenant displacements for select apartment buildings across the city. Still, given her concerns with the program’s effectiveness, it is unclear whether or not Mayor Breed will allocate the money accordingly. (Chronicle / 48 Hills)
🚙 Toll prices on seven nearby bridges, including the Bay Bridge, will increase on New Year’s Day from $6 to $7. The one-dollar increase will not apply to the Golden Gate Bridge. (CBS)
🍎 Lowell High will not return to its merit-based application process for the 2022-2023 school year after Superintendent Vince Matthews said Tuesday that doing so would be “logistically impossible” at this time. Still, following a judge’s ruling earlier this month, it is yet to be determined whether entrance into Lowell will be lottery or performance-based in the years to come. (Chronicle)
🎄 On Wednesday, the Chronicle laid out a list of top places across the Bay Area to get into the holiday spirit. San Francisco attractions included “Entwined” in Golden Gate Park, Let’s Glow SF, and On the Level holiday lights walking tours. Also, if you’re interested, on Thursday evening at 6 pm Mayor Breed will kick off the holiday festivities in Golden Gate Park by lighting the big tree on Stanyan Street (outside the McLaren Lodge) that’s apparently named “Uncle John’s Tree.” (Chronicle)
🌮 Eater put out a good list on Wednesday that highlights “14 underrated neighborhood gems in San Francisco.” One place on there that I’ve been wanting to try—Chicano Nuevo, which operates out of The Broken Record bar in the Excelsior. (Eater)
What else I’m reading: Links to browse at your leisure
Former Investigator Sues SF District Attorney In Whistleblower Complaint (SFist)
New S.F. proposal would try to crack down on stolen goods resold on city streets (Chronicle)
Netflix doc ‘Lead Me Home’ gets to the heart of homelessness in SF and other cities (Examiner)
And finally… The Bumblebee Bridge
Written by SF Minute reader and resident historian, Shawn Conly.
We’re blessed in San Francisco to have perhaps the most famous, most photographed bridge on the planet (and arguably the bridge that’s most often destroyed in movies).
Aside from its Art Deco design, a big part of what makes the Golden Gate Bridge so iconic is its unique color. But did you know that orange was not in the bridge’s original plan? The Department of War was the permitting agency for the 1930s project and if they had their way, the Golden Gate Bridge would have been painted yellow and black so that ships could make it out in the fog.
Thankfully, Irving Morrow, an architect on the project, stumbled upon a better idea.
When surveying the construction one day, Morrow noticed the primer coat that had been painted on some of the steel and thought its orange color complimented the surrounding natural landscape.
In a 29-page report, Morrow argued that the Golden Gate Bridge should not be painted silver or black or gray (like most bridges at that time). Instead, the longest suspension bridge in the world, he said, should carry a color as bold as the design and engineering of the structure. Eventually, the Department of War relented and the primer color, which was slightly tweaked and given the name “International Orange,” won out.
An additional fun fact while we’re on the topic: it’s an urban myth that the bridge gets painted end-to-end each year. Painters are constantly working to keep the Golden Gate’s color looking fresh, but they do so in sections where touch-ups are needed.
Alright. That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading y’all and I’ll see you back here tomorrow. - Nick B.