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.

20 thoughts on “Covid-19 and Silicon Valley

    • Yes. Two BIG problems: (a) Just far too many variables to account for, esp. in the analyses comparing one region to another. (b) The mathematical models are being extended beyond their range of validity.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Dear Norm: Thank you for your reporting. It helps to provide context for a Los Angeles Times news story regarding the Kaiser Hospital in San Jose with about half of its patients ill with COVID-19.
    Nearly half of all patients at one Kaiser hospital believed to have Coronavirus
    By RONG-GONG LIN IISTAFF WRITER
    MARCH 25, 2020 1:33 PM
    https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-03-25/suspected-or-confirmed-coronavirus-patients-fill-up
    Once I had a copy of the article, I immediately forwarded it to each of the members of the San Luis Obispo County, California Board of Supervisors. I’m also refreshing my knowledge of virology and immunology. My suggested reading assignment is to read about the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic. Wikipedia is a good place to start. We have challenging times ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Norm: Not yet. There will be as a consequence of infective COVID-19 carriers being asymptomatic. Some carriers will never show symptoms. If the population becomes careless or indifferent regarding “physical distancing” there will be replays of the scenes in Italy where the morgues are being overwhelmed. :-(.

        In NIH Director Francis Collins’s 03 March 2020 “Director’s Blog” entry, he projects it will be at least a year until a COVID-19 vaccine is widely available. As you will see, that is a “best case” scenario.

        Structural Biology Points Way to Coronavirus Vaccine
        Posted on March 3rd, 2020 by Dr. Francis Collins
        https://directorsblog.nih.gov/2020/03/03/structural-biology-points-way-to-coronavirus-vaccine/

        Here’s a somewhat more technical article from 14 years ago.

        https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3291398/
        1918 Influenza: the Mother of All Pandemics
        Jeffery K. Taubenberger * and David M. Morens†
        Emerg Infect Dis. 2006 Jan; 12(1): 15–22.

        Abstract
        “Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice
        Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, 1865

        An estimated one third of the world’s population (or ≈500 million persons) were infected and had clinically apparent illnesses (1,2) during the 1918–1919 influenza pandemic. The disease was exceptionally severe. Case-fatality rates were >2.5%, compared to <0.1% in other influenza pandemics (3,4). Total deaths were estimated at ≈50 million (5–7) and were arguably as high as 100 million (7)……

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Norm, I wish you and your family well, living and working where you do. I did move to PA last October as my retirement state. But in NJ I visited Parsippany a couple of days each week. There is a large Asian population living there, given all the big corporations in north NJ. The town’s senior center was dominated by those with Chinese heritage. I had to admire these seniors for their focus on health. They socialized at the center, but also played pool and ping pong (so popular there are multiple rooms for these), and held frequent Tai Chi classes. Some non-Asians joined in. I attended a senior fitness class there. So far, in NJ’s papers (I still subscribe to two NJ e-papers in part to support the papers), I do not see this town having any positive virus cases announced. And NJ cases are beginning to soar being next to NYC.

    Linda K.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comments, some needed good news. However, I think you missed this part of my post: “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.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Calling it the Wuhan Virus or Flu should not be a problem as that is specific to the region of origin. So many viruses come out of China, calling it the China Flu is confusing with other strains, not to mention the offense Chinese people may feel.

    That being said, I’m half-Spanish and never took offense to the term “Spanish Flu”.

    Still this epidemic demonstrates the need for secure borders. When Trump said he was closing off travel from China in January it was a wise move. The SJWs came out of the woodwork with the racist accusations. But we’re seeing that other countries that did the same, like Russia and Eastern Europe, are experiencing a very low number of cases. It is just common sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve been watching the trends (not forecasts) at Worldometers, and I wish they would break out the stats by state for the U.S. It’s possible some states are peaking early due to local rules, but I can’t tell from the charts. Would be nice to know who’s doing a good job….

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  5. Granted the Chinese penchants for a variety of wild life as food is a cause, the Spanish flu supposedly started in the American mid-west. Globalization has consequences. But we should respond as one world to cope, mitigate the dangers and reap the benefits. The pandemic illustrates the need for greater world cooperation. It’s not the only universal danger we face: cue climate change, over-population, pollution of the oceans, etc.

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  6. This really isn’t a comment on your last article, I just didn’t see another way of sending you this tip:

    https://www.newser.com/story/comments/289309/older-programmers-are-suddenly-in-high-demand.html
    NJ urgently needs volunteers who know COBOL

    My question is, given that New Jersey was the first state to throw their COBOL programmers overboard in return for ephemeral savings in Indian body shops, why are they now asking for VOLUNTEERS?

    Like

  7. “Santa Clara County has had 459 confirmed cases, and 17 deaths.”

    If we zoom in further in Santa Clara county we get.

    From the Mercury News, “Latinos account for 34 percent of those who have died from the disease in Santa Clara County as of May 9 yet comprise just 23 percent of the county’s 18-and-older population” and “In the county’s poorest ZIP codes, the death rate from COVID-19 is four times as high as in the wealthiest ZIP codes…. because of economic stress or the nature of their jobs — have been unable to stay safely at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.”

    From the SF Chronicle (May 8), “And in Santa Clara County, Latino people made up 45% of cases with a listed race and 25% of the population.”

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  8. Norm – I hope you haven’t been silenced when it comes to H-1B, OPT and other related issues. You’ve provided your readers with invaluable information over the years and it is sorely missed.

    Like

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