Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody sat down for one-on-one virtual interviews with reporters on Monday to answer questions regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
You can find some of her answers to our questions below.
Question: Have we bent the curve, doctor?
Answer: I don’t think that we’ve peaked. What I can tell you is that we have slowed things down. So, for example, if you look at the beginning — like right around when we put the shelter-in-place order — the curve, it was growing fast. Numbers were going up quite a bit every day. Now that we've had that order in place for more than two weeks, what you can see is that the growth has slowed. So, we’re still growing, but we're not growing as fast. But this is working. We're seeing some soft signs that this is working. Remember, the goal here was to slow things down and spread things out. So, for example, better to have one new person needing a hospital bed, one new person for 14 days, than having 14 people on the same day need a hospital bed. And so we put this in place so that we can slow it down so that when people get sick, they'll have care ready for them.
Question: What will be your benchmark? What are you looking at when you start opening the door if you will and allowing people to start normalizing everyday life?
Answer: So this is a really, really, really hard question. As you remember, it was really hard to put this in place, really hard to put this in place. I would say that the actions that everyone collectively have taken have slowed things down. It's going to be really hard to know how to let up, how to time that and where to do it. As we have since the beginning of this epidemic, we're looking to experiences in other parts of the world that have already been through this — what worked and what didn't. And, so, I can tell you that in places that had a lockdown, this extreme shelter-in-place like we have, if you take it all off all at once, things rebound. And the reason for that is because our whole populations, more or less, are susceptible. It's a brand new virus. Nobody has immunity. So, if you're exposed, you're still going to get sick.
Question: Can you leave our viewers with some positive thoughts? What can they look forward to in the coming days, coming weeks?
Answer: What I would say to our viewers is that collectively, everyone in the county of Santa Clara has been doing what they can to do their part, to slow the spread of infection, and collectively we have been able to do that. So, collectively, we've been able to protect health care for our friends, neighbors and family members to have it when they need it. We are not out of the woods. We have to keep at it. I hope that everyone can take care of themselves because we're in it together for some time to come. So, good work so far, and we have to keep it up.
Watch full Q&A session here: