San Francisco and the Bay Area are starting to be looked upon by other parts of the country as having flattened the curve in the pandemic — though this is far from a sure thing just yet. Even with mitigation measures like social distancing and sheltering at home, the grim numbers of daily dead are ticking up statewide and will continue to in the next few weeks.
Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County, spoke at the county's Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday and provided some estimates for how many deaths the state and the county are potentially going to see. As the Los Angeles Times reports, Farnitano is estimating between 2,000 and 14,000 deaths in Contra Costa County alone, before the pandemic dissipates. That would mean about 600 deaths per week in the Bay Area, at peak, and 100 to 200 deaths per week in the county.
"We are still hopeful we can avoid [this scenario] if we don’t relax our efforts to flatten the curve," Farnitano told the supervisors. But he warned that relaxing measures too early could be disastrous. California on a whole is potentially going to see 5,000 deaths per week for several weeks, according to one model.
Santa Clara County's health officer issued a similarly grim projection last week, estimating that the county would see between 2,000 and 16,000 dead.
Right now, California is seeing just over 1,200 new coronavirus cases per day, and just over 30 deaths per day in the last two days. These numbers are expected to rise in the coming weeks, with daily deaths spiking by mid- to late April.
In New York State, they are seeing almost 10,000 new cases per day right now, and around 400 deaths per day.
Extended social distancing, despite the economic pain it causes, is key to lessening the healthcare impacts and slowing the spread of the virus before its expected cyclical slowdown in the summer — though that is not a foregone conclusion, according to experts.
The New York Times today published a map showing which parts of the country were observing social-distancing and shelter-in-place guidances as of last week and the week before, and it shows how a huge swath of the deep south and southeast have ignored such guidance altogether. Brace for the next big outbreaks in those locales.
Top photo outside Bi-Rite Divisadero by Kora Manheimer