Despite Trump's Psychosis, The Early Numbers Comparing San Francisco With New York Shows That Sheltering In Place Works

San Franciosco Chronicle writer Erin Allday asked why New York has ten times more COVID-19 cases than California, noting that "New York’s coronavirus outbreak has violently erupted over the past few days, and the state is now driving the national epidemic-- while on the West Coast, public health experts are wondering if an early and aggressive response saved California from a similar fate. California reported some of the earliest coronavirus cases in the United States in late January. And in the first week of March, California and New York were neck and neck on cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. But over the past week, New York case counts have doubled every few days, and the state now has 10 times the cases California does: 25,000 to 2,500."

Swell.Life has a fascinating analysis of The Chronicle's question by founder and CEO/CTO Sudha K Varadarajan: Bay Area is Flattening the Curve-- Early data indicates effectiveness of Shelter in Place. Shelter in Place was instituted in the Bay Area before any other jurisdictions and without any federal support or mandate. "So far," writes Varadarajan, "the numbers seem to indicate that this was not only a wise decision but will help us come out of this far quicker than anyone else (provided we can limit people traveling into or outside of the Bay Area and continue to maintain social distancing). And quicker recovery will mean that the economic impact is likely to be much lower than what it would have been had we done this sometime later, after more cases were allowed to spread. Now, I must caveat this with it being early days. But the numbers appear to indicate that aggressive distancing and lock-down policies are highly effective when applied early."

The Bay Area put its Shelter in Place effective Mar 17. I have compared data from Mar 15 to about 6 pm PT on Mar, 22, which was the time of this writing. And, I will continue to update this article over the coming days with more data.

This article examines data from two major states in the US, namely CA and NY. It also looks at some regions within CA, including the Bay Area and Los Angeles County. And finally, it looks at CA vs the rest of the US as an aggregate. For the purpose of this article, Bay Area numbers use the aggregate numbers from the following counties: San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma and Napa.

Number of coronavirus tests conducted

There is no good data source I could find on this-- if you have any, please do send them my way. The best figures I could find indicate that California has conducted about 23,200 tests, New York has conducted 32,427 tests. These figures are about  a day or two old. The reason it is important to know how many have been tested is because I want to put aside the argument that NY has tested more and hence has reported more cases. The numbers indicate that both states have conducted similar numbers of tests on their population. 

Bay Area vs New York

First, let us compare the Bay Area to New York. On Mar 16, before shelter in place, we had 310 cases in the Bay Area with 5 deaths, and 950 in New York with 6 deaths. Here is how much the virus has spread in the past 6 days in these regions. The Bay Area is now at 786 cases and 13 deaths, while New York has 15168 cases and 114 deaths.

Bay Area vs California

On Mar 16, 310 of the 392 cases in California, or 79% of the cases, were in the Bay Area. Today, six days later, 786 of the 1555 cases in California, which is 50% of the cases, are from the Bay Area. The deaths have fallen from 83% (5 of 6 cases) to 44% (13 of 29 cases).

Santa Clara County vs Los Angeles County

In the Bay Area, on Mar 16, Santa Clara county accounted for 138 of the 310 (44%) cases and 4 of the 5 (80%) deaths. Shelter in Place was instituted in the Bay Area and so we compared it to Los Angeles County, which had 94 cases and 1 death on Mar 16 and now has 409 cases with 5 deaths.

California vs the US

We then look at California vs the rest of the US. California’s leadership acted early to institute social distancing effectively amongst its huge population. It is the most populous state in the country, with double the number of people in New York. The graph clearly indicates that California has been much more effective in flattening its curve compared to the rest of the country.

In summary, these are early days. But the early Shelter-in-Place by the Bay Area leadership and adherence by the community, appears to have made a huge difference in the spread of the virus in this community.

And speaking of San Francisco... Lawrence Ferlinghetti just turned 100-- and it sure looks like he's still going strong. He has a few words about the Trump Regime and its hangers-on (my interpretation).

Pity the nation whose people are sheep
   And whose shepherds mislead them
 Pity the nation whose leaders are liars
            Whose sages are silenced
  And whose bigots haunt the airwaves
 Pity the nation that raises not its voice
          Except to praise conquerers
       And acclaim the bully as hero
          And aims to rule the world
              With force and by torture
          Pity the nation that knows
        No other language but its own
      And no other culture but its own
 Pity the nation whose breath is money
 And sleeps the sleep of the too well fed
      Pity the nation oh pity the people
        who allow their rights to  erode
   and their freedoms to be washed away
My country, tears of thee

                   Sweet land of liberty

Down With Tyranny

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