The COVID-19 test came back positive for a homeless man in the Arroyo Plaza homeless encampment in Livermore. I hear he is in quarantine, along with a number of his contacts, in Hayward, which has the second highest number of cases of any municipality in Alameda County (Livermore is fifth). Other contacts refused to go to quarantine.
It is an exposure of concern, especially given the proximity to Big Box stores like Walmart and Home Depot. There is also risk to police, fire, paramedic, service providers, volunteers, good Samaritans, and other individuals. This certainly makes homelessness a problem of even greater priority in Livermore, where, as in most other places, there is not the political will to address the dilemma in any truly overall effective manner. There is little leadership on this on the federal, state, county, or municipal levels.
If COVID-19 spreads through the homeless community then what? An environment of no shelter, “rough sleeping,” and little to no sanitation is certainly not conducive to health, much less recovery from sickness.
The Santa Rita Jail is also releasing inmates because of its COVID-19 cases. This explains the number of new faces on the Arroyo.
All this is occurring a short distance from street names of my heritage – Edinburgh, Yorkshire, Highland, Windermere – with their million-dollar-plus homes. The thinking is that COVID-19 is going to be absent by some socioeconomic moat? Not likely given the mutation of the novel coronavirus from the D614 strain to the G614 strain, which has a greater transmissivity.
Early in the pandemic, California was thought to have been hit with the D614 strain, probably from the point of origin in the city of Wuhan in the People's Republic of China. We did not respond as we should have. The "D" in D614 stands for the amino acid aspartic acid, "614" is where this amino acid occurs in the approximately 1,200 amino acid sequence of the spike protein of the virus, which attaches after being cleaved in two to the host cell.
The "G" of G614 stands for the amino acid glycine. The mutation is therefore a swap of an aspartic acid molecule for a glycine molecule. This allows the spike protein to attach much more effectively to the host cell. It is also probably why this virus is spreading more greatly, besides us having let our guard and precautions lapse. It's time to reverse this Livermore!