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Opinion: One-hundred medical experts advocate for more hotels for the unhoused, and quickly

March 27, 2020

By San Francisco United in Crisis : sfexaminer – excerpt

As San Francisco’s shelter in place order was being enacted, The City had about 30,000 vacant units and 42,000 empty hotel rooms, while at least 8,000 people remained unhoused, either in congregate shelters or on the street.

Currently, The City is moving into hotel rooms only those unhoused San Franciscans who test positive for coronavirus or those who show symptoms of COVID-19. This is a vital start. But it is not enough.

Individuals carrying the coronavirus may be contagious for several days before showing symptoms or show few to no symptoms at all. Moreover, the rate of spread for the virus, represented by COVID-19’s basic reproduction number (which ranges from two to five, depending on the study), suggests that if even a single person brings the disease into a shelter, an average of two to five people will be infected, each of whom would, in turn, infect two to five more.

If we only provide proper accommodation to people after they are noticeably ill, the spread could become exponential…

Right now, with tens of thousands of vacant rooms in the Bay Area, we have a chance and a duty to get it right, before it gets out of hand.

San Francisco United in Crisis is a coalition of community organizations and labor unions devoted to giving support to our most vulnerable neighbors during the COVID-19 crisis. To see the full list of medical experts who have signed this letter, please go to the coalition’s web site. (more)

Please please please listen to this request from the medical community and get those people in the vacant hotels and units. Just make a deal to pay the bills and let the hotels and managers sign in the people as they walk in the door. You can count and classify them later.

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