Oakland has over 500 COVID-19 cases

cellular image of novel coronavirus with the word Oakland above
Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

Oakland passed over 500 total COVID-19 cases this weekend. As of Saturday, 535 Oakland and 1,749 Alameda County residents have tested positive for novel coronavirus, and 63 have died countywide. The county has not reported city-level deaths.

Latinos have the highest number of cases in Alameda County, 571, followed by Asians, 274, whites 257, and African Americans, 187. There are 373 cases marked as “unknown race.” Officials announced a racial disparities task force on April 17, but have yet to notify the public of its first meeting. 

It is not unclear, however, what percentage of different racial groups live in which cities or neighborhoods, and how officials are directing resources to address racial disparities in the Town and throughout the County. 

Oakland Voices first reported the concentration of COVID-19 cases in East Oakland nearly two weeks ago. The numbers continue to rise.

May Day’ car caravan protest 

A caravan of protesters shut down the Port of Oakland on Friday as part of a May Day rally. May 1 is International Workers Day and this year’s protest took on a heightened significance due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of “essential” workers. In March, longshore workers with ILWU 10 protested against the offloading of contaminated waste from the Grand Princess Cruise Ship

This May Day saw nationwide strikes and demands for safer conditions for workers, living wages, universal health care, the cancellation of rent, as well as immigration reforms, the Mercury News reports. Demonstrators carried out the protest by cars, a tactic recently used during the “Ride on Santa Rita” protests calling for the release of inmates in Alameda County’s Santa Rita Jail. 

Caravan protests?

The caravan may be part of a COVID-19 protest tactic. Last week, a car caravan of protesters demanded justice for Steven Taylor, a 33-year-old man shot by San Leandro police during a mental health crisis inside a Walmart store. The previous “Caravan for Justice” during the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement in 2009 focused on transporting protesters to the State Capitol to lobby for police accountability laws. San Leandro police released body-cam footage of the shooting.

Community members also led a “Census caravan” last weekend, encouraging “hard-to-count” communities to complete the census. Oakland currently has nearly a 59 percent response rate.

Give the Lake a Break

Oakland officials are calling on residents to Give the Lake a Break. Last month, crowds tired of shelter-in-place flocked to the lake and did not practice social distancing. Councilwoman Nikki Bas announced changes that began this week. Weekend ambassadors began canvassing the lake focused on educating the public about the health order. The City installed large signs along Lakeshore Ave. 

More slow streets

Oakland announced additional “Slow Streets” closures throughout the Town. The updated map notes there are additional proposed streets. Residents can provide feedback on the potential streets by the end of the day on May 4 through this survey or through OAK311 via phone. 

Read Oakland Voices’ coverage on skepticism about slow streets

Fearmongering during the pandemic?

KRON channel 4 recently reported, “Smash and grabs on the rise in Oakland amid pandemic.” According to journalist Darwin Bond Graham, data does reflect this. 

Gun violence during a pandemic

Last weekend, Oakland resident Miles Armstead‘s allegedly shot and killed him. He leaves behind four children and a pregnant widow. According to Councilman Loren Taylor, the shooting was one of a number of recent deaths in the past six weeks in District 6. Others include Jalain Dickerson, 19, Anika Crane, 32, and Henry Texada, 23. KTVU cites anonymous sources and reports the suspect had been jailed for attacking Armstead earlier this year. However, he was released due to coronavirus concerns. 

Oakland: What are you seeing and experiencing in your neighborhoods?

Every Monday and Thursday, Rasheed Shabazz and Momo Chang produce the Oakland ‘Rona Roundup, COVID-19 related stories impacting the Town.

About Rasheed Shabazz

Rasheed Shabazz is a multimedia storyteller, urban planning historian, and youth development professional based in the Bay Area. He coordinates Oakland Voices and is currently in the Masters of City and Regional Planning program at UC Berkeley.  View all posts by Rasheed Shabazz →

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