Questions Grow as Daily COVID Cases Drop in the Bay Area

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The omicron surge has passed for much of the Bay Area, but as daily case rates drop, questions are growing about what's next.

“We continue to go down in cases,” said Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, infectious disease specialist at UCSF. 

He said it's true omicron cases are steadily dropping, but also notes there's a fair amount of the virus still circulating.

“You think about San Francisco this week easing some of the recommendations which are baby steps toward that goal that most people think is coming,” said Chin-Hong.

San Francisco once again loosened mask restrictions allowing certain stable, and fully vaccinated groups, to take off their masks in gyms and offices.

“There is an in-between phase where San Francisco is now where certain groups have more liberties based on a group status eventually we may move to a place where it becomes very individual,” said Chin-Hong.

The city said it's also starting to look over the horizon and it’s figuring out how to ease restrictions without triggering new surges.

“I don’t think anyone can predict when we will become endemic because it’s still unpredictable what will happen in the future and we still have many deaths per day,” said Chin-Hong.

Some experts are pushing to move to a model where health decisions are more person-specific. Meaning your specific health risks and level of concern shape your decisions on masks and other precautions.

The doctor said that's not a model California has embraced yet, opting for a more measured approach.

“Which is to have metrics if you meet those metrics have more liberties and ultimately that might be the best way because its thoughtful and gives different places times to think about when they reduce restrictions,” said Chin-Hong.

Governor Gavin Newsom said his administration will be releasing an endemic plan for the state’s COVID response in the coming days.

Many expect that to happen before Feb. 15 when the current mask rules are set to expire.  

But for now, it's still masks on and vax up. 

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