Expert issues warning after parties, social gatherings blamed for coronavirus spike in Oakland

Oakland officials say Lake Merritt on weekends continues to be problematic with crowding and mask fatigue.
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing in Oakland, especially East Oakland, and officials are blaming it on parties and social gatherings.

They even put out a warning at Lake Merritt, a hot spot for weekend get-togethers.

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"If your social bubble changes from Saturday to Wednesday that doesn't work. If you're in two or three social bubbles at once that doesn't work either," Dr. Nicholas Moss, interim Alameda Co. Health Officer, said.

Health experts and officials in Oakland said they're floored by new numbers from the Roots Community Health Center showing a steep rise in coronavirus cases among 18 to 50-year-olds, especially in East Oakland.

Dr. Noha Aboelata said, "When we look at East Oakland, the case rates are two times or three times the rest of Oakland and they are doubling at a rapid rate."

In the last two months, cases related to work and errands are declining, but the COVID-19 cases linked to social gatherings are soaring.

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Dr. Moss emphasized "We see racial and ethnic disparities persisting with our Latin residents more than six times likely to contract COVID-19. "

Oakland officials are asking people not to ride in a car with people who aren't in their social group or family. They also said they are thinking of putting in social distancing circles like San Francisco did at some of the grassy lawn areas around Lake Merritt.

Lake Merritt on weekends continues to be problematic with crowding and mask fatigue.

Shakari Jackson, an Oakland resident, said, "People are annoyed, they are really over it and I'm really annoyed by it and over it, and I'm tired of forgetting my mask."

Dr Arboelata warned, "As I drive around the lake and see folks hanging out I get it we're tired and we wanna socialize. But even being outside can be deadly if we're not being careful. I see people not wearing masks at all, sharing food sharing drinks and smoke. We've got to do better than this."

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