San Francisco

Experts Worry About COVID-19 Uptick as Crowds Gather in SF

NBC Universal, Inc.

Warm, Spring temperatures as well as vaccinations and loosening pandemic restrictions, have brought people across the Bay Area out of their homes and onto parks and beaches.

However, public health experts worry this could bring an uptick in COVID-19 cases as crowds gather and urge people not to let their guard down.

Hundreds of people gathered at Dolores Park in San Francisco Saturday and epidemiologist Jessica Malty-Rivera said she was a bit shocked to see the crowd.

"It's not the point yet where we should be having large, unmasked gatherings, even in public settings," she said. "There was just no physical distancing I could see in sight."

Earlier in the pandemic, Dolores Park had circles marking safe distance from each group, but those are no longer there.

Despite the lack of social distancing enforcement, many people wore and kept their masks on.

Friends Roxanna Perez and Alessandro Galota have been friends for a long time but hadn't seen each other in a while due to the pandemic.

Perez has already gotten both her COVID-19 vaccination doses, but Galota has not, so they're keeping their masks on during their meet-up at the park.

"It's the new normal, I guess," Galota said. "We are used to wearing masks all the time, even with the vaccine and everything."

At Fisherman's Wharf, plenty of people strolled around before sunset, including families from out-of-state.

"It's beautiful down here," said Dale Tittle from Reno. "We haven't been down in a while and we brought the kids down to see the seals and Pier 39 and all the attractions and it's beautiful."

People are full of optimism as vaccinations are underway and the days get warmer on the last weekend of March, but experts hope people don't get overconfident as a fourth wave of infections is possible.

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