Early Signs Bay Area Is Flattening The Curve, But Recovery Still Many Weeks Away

Margie Shafer
April 08, 2020 - 12:49 pm

Early data is showing encouraging signs that shelter in place orders are working to flatten the coronavirus curve in California and across the country. 

Experts like Dr. Bob Wachter, chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine say the Bay Area has had extraordinary success in tamping down the number of cases and deaths, causing a much flatter curve than in New York, the country’s hotspot.

The CDC is now considering loosening restrictions for people who have been exposed to the virus to return to work if they are not showing symptoms.

“Public health officials and epidemiologists that I’m talking to do not say that its time to let up just yet,” says Dr. Wachter, who estimates that move should not come for four to eight weeks at least. “We are still seeing the curve going up everyday. It’s not going up exponentially as we feared but it is going up everyday and we have to see that curve go down in a sustained way.  And we are not there yet. It’s certainly several weeks away.”

Dr. Wachter says increased testing and contact tracing will be required before we can allow people to move around more freely, and even then masks will be common for some time.

For Californians, even once the rate of infection begins to taper off, wildfire recovery efforts may be an apt analog for returning to normal life.

“We will have tamped down the worst of the fires, but there are still the possibility of embers out there in the hills. You have to watch for them and when you find them you have to surround them. You have to make sure that they don’t spread.”