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    San Francisco LGBTQ Community Leaders Address the Coronavirus Crisis

    “Lately I feel like we’re all living in a really badly produced disaster flick.”
    —Cleve Jones, March 5, 2020

    LGBTQ community leaders, such as Cleve Jones, were among the first in San Francisco to express grave concern about the coronavirus SARS CoV-2 that was first identified in China in late 2019. Because many closely follow world news updates, have contacts around the globe, and lived through the HIV/AIDS crisis, they could foresee how the virus that can cause COVID-19 would likely impact the Bay Area and beyond. As Jones wrote on February 26, well before the shelter-in-place order took effect in San Francisco on March 17:

    “Those with kids still at home should consider the possibility of widespread school closures. Folks with immune disorders and other chronic health challenges should learn how to reduce their risk of exposure. Everyone should adopt common sense precautions and enhanced hygiene. It may become necessary to avoid indoor crowds, possibly even large outdoor events. Panic hoarding is counterproductive but prudent stockpiling of necessary prescription medications is smart. Everyone and their families should have conversations about how to stay well.

    I survived the Republican response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic and intend to survive this but none of us should be      foolish enough to count on Trump’s government to defend us.   

    Stay calm and informed. Be smart. Prepare yourself and your loved ones.”

    His predictions clearly came true, and then some. Now those of us lucky enough to still be reasonably healthy and to have homes are sheltering, practicing social distancing, and waiting out what could be a lengthy time before California is “reopened.”

    Governor Gavin Newsom on March 24 indicated that the next 6–8 weeks will help to determine when the shelter-in-place order could be lifted here. Since President Trump said during a Fox News virtual town hall, “I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter (April 12),” it is possible that hotspots like California and New York will remain closed while orders are lifted over large parts of the U.S.

    In the meantime, we invite you to read:

    Signs, public notices, and more throughout the Castro and other parts of the city as documented by legendary San Francisco Bay Times photographer Rink:

    Dr. Marcy Adelman’s thoughts on the crisis from her perspective as a longtime LGBTQ senior advocate:

    Brett Andrews’ piece on PRC’s and other nonprofits’ efforts to strengthen our safety net now and for the future:

    Donna Sachet’s personal stories of individuals in the city who are each facing unique challenges and circumstances now:

    Sister Dana Van Iquity’s good news about the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence:

    Ann Rostow’s LGBTQ fortnight in review, beginning with “La Peste”:

    Assemblymember Phil Ting’s article reminding us all that the Census count is important and still underway:

    Dr. Tim Seelig’s piece about how the pandemic is impacting our daily lives:

    John Lewis and Stuart Gaffney’s look back at the extraordinary life of marriage equality activist Ellen Pontac (1941–2020):

    Film critic Gary Kramer’s suggestions for movies to watch at home now:

    and much more at:

    This is also a great time to check in on the Castro Street Cam, which allows you to safely experience a sense of connection to the Castro (Castro Street, Harvey Milk Plaza, and Jane Warner Plaza) from anywhere in the world 24/7!

    Special thanks to Cliff’s Variety for their help in presenting the Castro Street Cam, and for staying open with so many needed goods during this unprecedented time. Don’t miss their “Hot or Not” game via their social media, tracking items (beyond tp and hand sanitizer) that are selling like crazy during this shelter-in-place period.

    Published on March 26, 2020