SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – With California on the verge of allowing some businesses to operate again during phase 2 of the the governor’s plan to reopen, health experts anticipate a spike in the spread of coronavirus.
“Hospitalization numbers improved over the last day, so did ICU numbers,” says Governor Gavin Newsom. “They actually both went down 1 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.”READ MORE: Environmental Whistleblower Sets Off Probe Into Illegal Discharge Of Petcoke At Port Of Benicia
Citing those encouraging numbers the governor is moving towards some loosening of state’s shelter in place rules. The question many are asking: will phase two bring more infections?
“If people don’t wear masks and if people don’t socially distance, the answer is yes,” says UC San Francisco epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford. “We will see it quickly. This disease has a five day incubation period.”
Rutherford says state and Bay Area health officials all face one unavoidable truth right now.
“The more people move around, the more contact they will have with others, the more likely it is that the virus will spread,” explained Dr. Grant Colfax, San Francisco’s Director of Public Health.READ MORE: COVID: UCSF Researchers Examine Impact Of Coronavirus On Young Brains After 3 Teens Develop Psychosis
“If you look at Orange County’s data, after the Huntington Beach party, there was a big blip in cases,” Rutherford says. “It went from around maybe 70 a day to 140 a day for a couple of days. You know these things have consequences.”
Rutherford says more spread is inevitable, but manageable with enough testing and contact tracing.
“We have to find people who are asymptomatic,” he says. “We have to find people who are mildly symptomatic. We have to find people who have been undiagnosed and use them to hold the line against further transmission.”
So opening things up means having to be absolutely ready to spot the signs if things are going badly.MORE NEWS: Desperately-Needed Rainfall from 'Bomb Cyclone' Gives Hope For North Bay Drought Recovery
“Hopefully pick it up fast enough that we can back up if we need to, or go forward if we can,” Rutherford says.