S.F. Mayor London Breed has become the latest media darling to emerge during the coronavirus outbreak. Over this past weekend, an article in The Atlantic painted Breed as the Bay Area’s saving grace, preventing a COVID-19 crisis like the one now overwhelming New York City hospitals.
The article titled “The City that has Flattened the Coronavirus Curve,” credits the mayor of the City by the Bay for taking swift early action in declaring a local state of emergency and putting a halt to gatherings of more than 1,000 people.
What it fails to mention is who did it first: Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody.
Despite living in San Francisco’s shadow, South Bay health officials were always one step ahead of Breed. In early March, they increasingly cracked down on large gatherings and removed fans at San Jose Sharks and Earthquakes games long before Breed had the chance to do the same with the Golden State Warriors.
When it finally came time to shut down the Bay Area in mid-march, Breed upstaged what was supposed to be a show of unity, leaving seven health officers—led by Dr. Cody—waiting for the mayor to wrap up her own news conference.
“I would say flat out, London Breed had nothing to do with it,” Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith tells Fly. “She didn’t comply with an agreement that the counties and cities had among their public health officers to do a specific press release at a specific time. The mayor of San Francisco decided to breach that agreement and act like she was the one who made the decisions.”
A spokesperson for Breed shrugged off Smith’s remarks, saying that the mayor’s “top priority has been protecting public health.”