If you’ve paid a visit to the Chinatown district of San Francisco lately, you probably noticed something odd. It’s quiet. I mean really quiet. So much so that many of the restaurants and popular tourist attractions are hurting. And many of the people who are out on the streets are wearing surgical masks. Why? Because of the coronavirus, of course.
That’s bad for business, so Nancy Pelosi decided to do something about it. She made a very public appearance there on Monday, walking the streets and letting people know there was nothing to worry about. She wanted to “quell the fears” of those who were afraid to venture forth. (CBS San Francisco)
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi walked through San Francisco’s Chinatown District Monday, attempting to quell fears about the current outbreak of the coronavirus that has kept customers out of shops and restaurants and tourists away from the streets…
“It’s exciting to be here, especially at this time,” said Pelosi as she walked surrounded by media and onlookers. “To be able to be unified with our community.”
We want to be vigilant about what might be on the horizon — what is out there in other places. We want to be careful how we deal with it (coronavirus). But we do want to say to people, come to Chinatown. Here we are, again, careful, safe, and come join us.”
It’s not that I can’t understand Pelosi’s motivation here. She’s an elected representative of that district and she wants to avoid a panic. She also wants to make sure that local businesses don’t take too big of a hit. But at the same time, she’s trying to drag people out in the streets where you are statistically more likely to run into someone who has recently been to China or other locations in eastern Asia or at least might have friends or relatives who have. Can you honestly say that’s a good idea?
Not to put too fine of a point on this, but less than 24 hours after Pelosi finished her “All Is Well” speech, San Francisco declared a state of emergency because of the virus. Did anyone send Pelosi a text to let her know?
San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D) declared a state of emergency for the city on Tuesday amid concerns over the international coronavirus outbreak.
While no coronavirus cases have been confirmed in San Francisco, “the global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step-up preparedness,” Breed said in a statement.
Of course, it’s not as if everything was coming up roses even before the virus went viral. One recent survey found that a plurality of San Francisco residents are thinking of bailing out and moving somewhere else. Many of them cite the epidemic of homelessness, rising crime rates, impossible commute times and the unaffordable cost of living in the City by the Bay. 47% of respondents said that they were seriously considering moving elsewhere, with 10% saying that they have already begun the process of moving to greener pastures.
If you add in the possibility of a major coronavirus outbreak in the area to the list, who knows? That number may well go over 50%. But let’s look on the bright side. For those who stick around, the commute times should be reduced and it will be much easier to get a table for dinner.