Covid-19 and Silicon Valley

Here is something you won’t read elsewhere: Silicon Valley leads the SF Bay Area in Covid-19 cases — leads by FAR. As of today, Santa Clara County has had 459 confirmed cases, and 17 deaths. That case total is more than triple the next-highest, 143 in San Mateo County, which adjoins Santa Clara County is also is the home to lots of high tech, e.g. Oracle. (SM County has only one death so far.)

Silicon Valley, of course, is home to very large numbers of immigrant engineers from China, who have the means to make frequent trips to China to visit family, especially during Chinese New Year, when the virus started to spread like mad within China and started to do so in the US. Many also frequently travel to China on business, e.g. to confer on manufacturing operations for US products. This is in contrast to, say, San Francisco County, which has a large Chinese-American population but who travel much less to China.

Mind you, the current crisis has had harmful fallout to many Chinese- and other East-Asian Americans, who are experiencing abuse ranging from mere suspicious looks to outright attacks. These started BEFORE Trump started using the term “Chinese virus,” but he certainly isn’t helping matters with his language. Trump wrote a tweet the other day in support of Asian-Americans, and I hope that means he’ll use a more judicious term from now on.

Nevertheless, the “Chinese connection” is there and is clear as day. The Manhattan KS GOP official who got into trouble for claiming the city doesn’t have a pandemic problem because there aren’t many Chinese people there may have been underestimating the power of the virus but his statement did, as the Chinese say 有道理, i.e. have some truth to it.

To be sure, there is a REASON why I like living in the Bay Area rather than Manhattan KS. (Kansas State University, so conceivably I could move there). I treasure living in a region with a large Chinese population and other types of diversity. But globalization is not free of problems.