According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new coronavirus has resulted in over 1,000,000 confirmed human infections in the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) designated COVID-19 as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States declared the COVID-19 pandemic a national emergency. The latest situation summary updates are available on the CDC’s coronavirus webpage.
Currently, there is an effort to better understand disease transmissibility, infectivity, and severity associated with this pandemic. In some affected geographic areas, COVID-19 appears to be spreading easily and sustainably in the community. This is referred to as community (or local) transmission, and means that people in certain areas are being infected with the virus and transmission cannot be traced to a single infected person.
However, researchers have now found that – at least in some areas of the United States – the rate of infection is remarkably low. Data available from the CDC website shows that the rate of infection in San Francisco, particularly the Castro District, seems to be lower than any populated area of the nation. What’s even more surprising is that, despite the lack of lockdown procedures and mask enforcement, the number of hospitalizations in this area are far less than any other city in the world.
Scientists are baffled by these results, although the answer may lie in the preparation of the residents for this global pandemic. While lockdowns and social distancing are taking place with questionable rates of success, many of the residents of the Castro District have been wearing what they refer to as “CovidFab Suits,” which protect their entire body from contact with people on the street and in the workplace.
“I’ve had my suit for years, and I felt like it was the perfect time to take it to the streets,” Andy Summers told us, as he strolled through the marketplace without a care in the world. With a little skip in his step and a twirl of his finger, Andy picked out a very large cucumber with a twinkle in his eye. “This will make a wonderful little….appetizer for us tonight.” One couple near us, wearing their CovidFab suits and grinning from ear to ear, answered his claim with “You go girl, live it up, baby.”
And live it up they are – life is going on as usual in this part of San Francisco. I witnessed happy couples and individuals in their CovidFab suits at the market, feeding ducks in the park, strolling hand in hand along the busy streets, and enjoying their dinners alone or with others. It’s not all fun and games, however. “It’s important to let others around you know when they get too close. Always have a safe word,” Andy said. “Mine is Unicorn.”
CovidFab suits are available from Wish.com and a number of other online outlets.