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Medical experts discuss California’s future with COVID-19

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — In New York, hospitals are overwhelmed and confirmed cases of COVID-19 are nearing the 40,000 mark. California cases are just over the 3,000, so what does the future hold?

“I would be surprised if we get this giant plume of cases like New York that completely overwhelmed the healthcare system,” Dr. George Rutherford said.

Medical experts credit Bay Area public health directors that called for a shelter in place early on, and the governor who followed suit with a statewide stay at home order.

“Days can matter in terms of how many people get infected,” Dr. Warner Greene said. “And it is an exponential process so days are critical to the absolute number of people who are infected.”

And medical experts can look to some of the hardest hit countries to back that up.

“We have good data from Italy that looks at adjacent provinces that shows that those that shelter earlier are doing better than those that sheltered later,” Rutherford said.

While doctors agree California’s numbers will go up, they say it is unlikely to get a repeat of New York state unless shelter orders are lifted too quickly.

“We have to make sure we see a downward trend in terms of people coming and scaling up our testing and get a good idea of how many are infected in our community,” Greene said. “And if those rates are going down and its at that time we can think about taking that step back.”

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