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COVID-19 Cases Skyrocket as Primary Demographic Shifts

Updated: Jul 9, 2020

11,694. A single day record for the number of new coronavirus cases in California. This represents a nearly 5 fold increase in new cases from just last month. It's easy to attribute the rise in cases to exponential growth, but with such a dramatic increase, it's clear that there are more factors at play. Indeed, data shows that people are following social distancing guidelines less and less as the phenomenon of "quarantine fatigue" sets in.

The response to this rise in cases varies from county to county. For example, Santa Clara County is continuing with their reopening despite a rise in cases, while San Francisco is planning to delay the reopening and postpone indoor dining and Contra Costa County is requiring masks in businesses and when people are in close contact with others. More updates will be issued by the counties later this week.

Another startling statistic about COVID-19 in the Bay Area concerns the positivity rate of the coronavirus test, representing the amount of people who receive a positive result after testing for COVID-19. The statewide positivity rate has increased to 7.1%, meaning that a higher percentage of the population is contracting the disease. Although many have attributed a rise in cases to an increase in testing capacity, if cases truly were staying stable or decreasing, this would be reflected in the positivity rate. However, from recent data, it is clear that our situation is only getting worse.

A large majority (78%) of those who tested positive were either asymptomatic or had very mild symptoms, underscoring the impact that people who are seemingly healthy have on spreading the disease. This means that people are spreading the disease without even knowing it, which is why it is more important than ever that we follow proper safety protocols. Additionally, 68% of the positive cases were detected in people between the ages of 18 and 40, and new testing data shows that minority Latinx and African American populations test positively at a much higher rate than White and Asian American populations.

A recent article published in Nature suggests that contrary to prior evidence, SARS-CoV-2 may actually be airborne. This means that it is more important than ever to stay at home if possible, wear masks when outside in public, and maintain social distancing.

In other news, an outbreak at San Quentin Prison has affected over 1300 inmates, representing a large increase in cases in Marin County. In addition, districts like SFUSD report that they are relying heavily on the trend of the virus over the next few weeks to plan school reopening in the fall. The demand at food banks has also been increasing, putting strain on resources as the population in need has nearly doubled.

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