OAKLAND (KPIX) – California set an alarming new record on Wednesday with nearly 13,000 new coronavirus cases, surpassing New York for the most in the country. Now, a Bay Area health expert is making a grim prediction that COVID-19 may impact our communities for up to ten years.

Dr. Jeff Smith is the executive officer in Santa Clara County. Two weeks ago, he predicted the virus will spiral out of control again and now he is even more concerned about the Fall.

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“We’re not even near the end of the problem,” said Dr. Smith.

On Wednesday, Smith made an announcement that he knew, he would eventually have to make.

“I just told all county employees, not to expect to come back to work or anything near normal until at least the end of February and not even then,” he said.

Dr. Smith sees a dangerous combination in the Fall. He predicts a big spike of COVID-19 along with the flu.

Smith adds, “There will never be a vaccine that will be effective. We’ve never been able to develop a vaccine against the common cold or any other coronavirus.”

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Smith said the best-case scenario is to completely shut down for 6 weeks to reduce the number of cases. The worst-case scenario is to stay on the course we are on now.

“Doing what is equivalent to spot fire treatment and struggling for the next ten years with the same problem,” he said.

While many Bay Area residents hope that will not be the case, some have very little hope things will improve any time soon.

“If we don’t do what the science tells us we should do, then I don’t see anything different happening,” said Kevin Williams.

“I don’t have any expectations but to keep doing what I’m doing and wear a mask,” said his daughter, Ray.

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Dr. Smith thinks the best way to tackle the virus is through social distancing and to come up with a treatment option to lessen the symptoms of the virus.