London Breed wasn’t going to wait around for COVID-19.
San Francisco had yet to confirm a single case of the coronavirus when Breed, the city’s 45-year-old first-term mayor, declared a state of emergency in late February. Two weeks later, Breed’s decision to ban gatherings of more than 1,000 people forced the hand of the Bay Area’s beloved Golden State Warriors, who this year moved into San Francisco’s Chase Center after nearly a half century in Oakland. Her decision, along with the NBA’s first positive case of the coronavirus, set in motion a chain of events that effectively shut down all of the nation’s major sports leagues.
Nearly a month after those initial orders to enforce social distancing, San Francisco and the broader Bay Area have emerged as a national model for how early and aggressive action can prevent the explosive rise in cases that has overwhelmed hospitals in New York, where leaders were slower to respond. San Francisco’s case count of 857 as of April 10—with just 13 recorded deaths due to the coronavirus—is much lower than that in metropolises of comparable size such as New Orleans, Detroit, Boston, and Washington, D.C. The city’s curve is low and flattening, and patients are not flooding into its emergency rooms.
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