top of page

Navigating the pandemic when immunocompromised

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous challenges for people all over the world. However, for those who are immunocompromised, the risks and challenges are even greater.

Immunocompromised individuals have weakened immune systems, which can make them more susceptible to infections and diseases. This can be due to a variety of factors, such as cancer treatments, HIV/AIDS, organ transplantation, and certain medical conditions like autoimmune disorders.

During the pandemic, immunocompromised individuals have faced a number of unique challenges. One of the main challenges is the increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Due to their weakened immune systems, these individuals are more likely to develop severe symptoms and complications if they do contract the virus.

Another challenge has been the difficulty in accessing necessary medical care. Many hospitals and clinics have had to reduce services or close completely due to the pandemic, making it harder for immunocompromised individuals to get the care they need. In addition, the fear of contracting COVID-19 has caused many people to avoid seeking medical care, even if they are experiencing serious symptoms.

Another challenge has been the isolation and loneliness that comes with the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus. Many immunocompromised individuals have been advised to limit their interactions with others and avoid crowded places, which can be difficult for those who rely on social support for their physical and mental well-being.

The pandemic has also presented financial challenges for immunocompromised individuals. Many have lost their jobs or seen their income reduced, which can make it difficult to afford the medical care and supplies they need.

Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented a number of challenges for immunocompromised individuals. It is important for society to recognize and support these individuals, and to do everything we can to reduce the spread of the virus and protect the most vulnerable among us.

Here we evaluate the community health risk around cancer treatment centers in different parts of the San Francisco Bay Area.

This analysis is not sponsored or endorsed by any of the healthcare facilities referenced. The healthcare facilities are used as representative of their communities similar to any other community essentials such as grocery stores and restaurants.

Location of cancer treatment centers referenced below

In the City

San Francisco as a city of 800,000 has an estimated 20,000 of its population that is immunocompromised. Providing them a safe lifestyle and adequate treatment options is a challenge given the dense urban landscape.

UCSF Infusion Center

Compared to earlier in December the overall prevalence of Influenza Like Illnesses (ILI) has come down marginally. However, the neighborhoods of the popular UCSF Infusion Center on Divisadero still 1000+ that are sick with ILI currently and indoor activities in public like shopping and transit risks an exposure every minute. Much more importantly, COVID-19 prevalence is high at 500+ infected in the neighborhood and a /hour index of 30 making remote operation where possible and masking everywhere in public a necessity.

Down the Peninsula

The peninsula with it's smaller cities is in a much better position compared to San Francisco.

UCSF Cancer Center Redwood City

Redwood City downtown with its typical small town layout has low enough ILI and COVID-19 prevalence that residents can go about with regular activities as long as they are careful to mask when in public indoor environments.

Stanford Cancer Center Palo Alto

Down in Palo Alto, ILI and COVID-19 prevalence is slightly higher than Redwood City but still regular activities are feasible with masking when out and about in public.

South Bay

San Jose and suburbs in South Bay have denser population compared to the peninsula and also higher prevalence.

Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara

At 400+ ILI infected and 200+ COVID-19 infected in the neighborhood, Santa Clara is in the remote activities where possible scenario with masking everywhere when out in public recommended.

Stanford Cancer Center South Bay

South San Jose with it's suburban layout is fairing better at 300+ ILI infected and 200+ COVID-19 infected in the neighborhood. Remote activities where possible with masking everywhere when out in public recommended.

East Bay

East Bay lies between the high prevalence in South Bay and the relatively lower prevalence on the Peninsula.

Kaiser Medical Center Walnut Creek

Prevalence levels in Walnut Creek requires masking everywhere though regular activities are still possible.

Kaiser Permanente Dublin

While in Dublin, prevalence is even lower to stay with masking only indoors in p

North Bay

Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center

North Bay is doing great compared to San Francisco comparable to the Peninsula allowing for regular activities with masking in indoor public environments.

Precautions during high prevalence

During COVID-19 surges, it is especially important for individuals who are immunocompromised to take precautions like ensuring adequate ventilation, wearing a mask and getting vaccinated. This is because individuals with compromised immune systems may be at a higher risk for severe illness or complications from COVID-19.

Masks are an effective way to reduce the transmission of the virus, especially in crowded or indoor settings. By wearing a fitting N95 mask, immunocompromised individuals can help to protect themselves and others from respiratory droplets and aerosols that may contain the virus.

Getting vaccinated is another important way to protect oneself and one's community. Vaccines stimulate the body's immune system to produce antibodies and build immunity to the virus. This can help to prevent severe illness and death from the virus, and can also help to reduce the spread of the virus in the population.

It is important for immunocompromised individuals to follow the guidance of public health officials and to take these precautions even if they feel healthy and are not experiencing any symptoms. By taking pandemic precautions, immunocompromised individuals can help to reduce their risk of severe illness and protect themselves and those around them from COVID-19.

Ensuring Indoor Air Quality

Hubbub Sentinel provides live updated guidance on ensuring IAQ using HVAC, windows and air cleaners. During a pandemic surge like at present, it would be most efficient to use all available resources including DIY air cleaners aka Corsi-Rosenthal (CR) boxes that can be made with readily available materials. Follow instructions by Sri on making the CR/SAFE boxes.

By ensuring adequate IAQ, a senior living facility could also apply for and display

the Clean Indoor Air Champion badge to instill confidence among staff, residents and the community.

Sporting the Hubbub Sentinel badge on your website, email and apps also provides a real-time snapshot of health risks in a healthcare facility and in the community with the recommended occupancy levels and masking to minimize health risks based on epidemiological, environmental and demographic context of the facility.

Smart Masking

You can also check your personal health risks at My Hubbub to know how to plan your day both for you current location and for places you intend to go during the day.

And sign up for My Bub alerts to automatically be alerted to health risks. My Bub even automatically factors in more stringent needs of the immunocompromised when providing recommendations.

Together, a safer world


bottom of page