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Coronavirus US: Homeless crowd San Francisco’s tent city

Homeless people on the streets of San Francisco have been pictured gathering dangerously close together amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Images show how the community on the city’s Tenderloin Street are struggling to social distance after the COVID-19 outbreak, with many tents crowded together in spots and people even grouping together to drink and take drugs as California expects a spike in infection rates.

On Monday, displaced people of the Bay Area were seen congregating outside the Empress Hotel drinking and chatting despite the deadly virus having infected 987 people in the city and killed 15.

As a body was loaded into a white van, one man yelled: ‘There goes that coronavirus!’ 

 

A homeless man peers out of his tent with the words ‘D’s tent please don’t take’ written, on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

Two people embrace on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California despite self-isolating advisories

Two people embrace on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California despite self-isolating advisories

A homeless man lays on the sidewalk in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California on Monday as the city is told to isolate

A homeless man lays on the sidewalk in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California on Monday as the city is told to isolate

Homeless people pass a cigarette on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco ignoring social distancing rules

Homeless people pass a cigarette on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco ignoring social distancing rules

Through the area, street advertisements tell people to stay home and wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds but for the homeless it’s not so simple.

After last week, the city scrapped plans to turn part of its convention center into a shelter with nearly 400 beds for homeless people, saying the set-up was too crowded, several people were seen resting on a statue outside City Hall Monday.

The Tenderloin neighborhood has 30,000 residents. As other people walked by groups of vagrants wearing face masks, those without access to permanent shelter or protective equipment were seen grappling with their clothing and belongings.

Groups such as Faithful Fools and the San Francisco Coalition on Homelessness have been handing out protective gear.

But many appeared to have a hard time keeping their skin clean at a time when hygiene is absolutely necessary to slow the spread and help hospitals keep up with the demand.

The city has acquired 2,000 hotel rooms. It has moved nearly 200 vulnerable people, including the homeless, into the rooms. 

Homeless people congregate on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

Homeless people congregate on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

A homeless man peers out of his tent on the streets as the displaced struggle to adhere to social distancing guidelines

A homeless man peers out of his tent on the streets as the displaced struggle to adhere to social distancing guidelines

A homeless woman stands on Golden Gate as people walk through the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California. Tents are seen close together

A homeless woman stands on Golden Gate as people walk through the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California. Tents are seen close together

San Francisco Mayor London Reed has been blasted after an outbreak at MSC South shelter reached 82 residents and 10 staff over the weekend, KTVU reports. But she previously explained about their delay in getting homeless people to a safe shelter: ‘We don’t have the ability to force anyone to stay anywhere.’

There have now been suggestions to turn the shelter into a treatment facility.

‘I don’t feel safe out here at all, but where am I going to go?’ homeless Angelica Morgan, 30, told the San Francisco Chronicle. ‘There are people out here coughing, all nasty and unsanitary, and don’t care about putting masks over their faces. The cops tell us we’re safer inside our tents if there’s people around, but can I stay in there all day? No.’

A homeless woman scrapes her skin with a card on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

A homeless woman scrapes her skin with a card on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

A homeless man holds his pants up while looking at another homeless woman walking by on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

A homeless man holds his pants up while looking at another homeless woman walking by on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

Medical workers load a body into a van on a block filled with homeless people in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California on April 13, 2020. While loading the body, a homeless man shouted 'there goes that coronavirus again'

Medical workers load a body into a van on a block filled with homeless people in the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California on April 13, 2020. While loading the body, a homeless man shouted ‘there goes that coronavirus again’

Homeless people congregate on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California. Some are seen drinking outside the Empress Hotel

Homeless people congregate on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California. Some are seen drinking outside the Empress Hotel

People wear masks while walking through the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California on April 13, 2020

People wear masks while walking through the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California on April 13, 2020

A homeless woman looks out from her tent on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

A homeless woman looks out from her tent on the streets of the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

Homeless people sleep on a statue near City Hall in San Francisco, California, surrounded by their belongings on Monday

Homeless people sleep on a statue near City Hall in San Francisco, California, surrounded by their belongings on Monday

One man said even having a tent doesn’t necessarily help with social distancing. 

‘I wish to God they’d put me inside,’ Jeff Reaves, 58, said. ‘But someone always comes and puts one next to me, and we argue and fight, but that’s just the way it is.’

‘It’s never safe out here anyway, but now?’ He snorted. ‘Forget about it.’

Activist Del Seymour, who once was homeless, said it will be difficult getting displaced people to stay apart.

‘When you’re on the street, it’s a necessity to be together, and you can’t get around it,’ he said. ‘It’s our need for each other. You can’t avoid going into the next tent or turning to the person next to you. You need a cigarette, you need a beer, you need to text — it’s constant. You have no other outlets in the Tenderloin. Social distancing — that ain’t gonna work here.

‘The best thing I can think of is putting people who are most at risk into hotels.’

A woman wearing a mask and gloves (left) walks by a football mural in San Francisco, California

A woman wearing a mask and gloves (left) walks by a football mural in San Francisco, California

A man wears a gas mask while walking through the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

A man wears a gas mask while walking through the Tenderloin district in San Francisco, California

City Hall is seen from above in San Francisco, California. Last week, the city scrapped plans to turn part of its convention center into a shelter with nearly 400 beds for homeless people, saying the set-up was too crowded

City Hall is seen from above in San Francisco, California. Last week, the city scrapped plans to turn part of its convention center into a shelter with nearly 400 beds for homeless people, saying the set-up was too crowded

'Stay home': A woman wearing a mask walks by a sign cautioning about coronavirus in San Francisco, California

A woman wearing a mask walks by a sign cautioning about coronavirus in San Francisco, California. It states: 'Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 sec'

‘Stay home’, left, and right, a sign cautioning about coronavirus in San Francisco, California. It states: ‘Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 sec’

A sign about coronavirus showing medical workers in San Francisco, California reads: 'Not all superheroes wear capes #AllInThisTogether'

A sign about coronavirus showing medical workers in San Francisco, California reads: ‘Not all superheroes wear capes #AllInThisTogether’

 

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