Are Coronavirus Cases Concentrating Around Silicon Valley Area Elites? Doctor Says ‘We Will Likely See More Cases’ Here

Written by Dana Sanchez
Of the 11 coronavirus cases reported so far in the U.S., more than half are in California and 4 are in the Silicon Valley or San Francisco areas. Pictured are John Doer, Michael Moritz and Marc Andressen. Venture capitalist John Doerr is pictured at Renmatix’s planned new headquarters and research center, Sept. 27, 2011, in King of Prussia, Pa. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke). Marc Andressen attends the Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, July 12, 2012. He’s an entrepreneur, VC, software engineer, and multi-millionaire best known as co-author of Mosaic, the first widely-used web browser, and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma). Michael Moritz is pictured at Techcrunch Disrupt SF 2013. Photo by Max Morse for Techrun

Of the 11 coronavirus cases reported so far in the U.S., more than half are in California and four are concentrated in the Silicon Valley or San Francisco areas, raising concerns that more cases will likely be reported there.

California health officials say that patients had either been to Wuhan, China— the epicenter of the outbreak — or had been in close contact with someone who had, according to Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s health officer.

Santa Clara is the richest county in California with a the typical household income of about $116,178 a year based on median household incomes, according to 24/7 Wall St.

A woman in the Bay Area who became ill after returning from a trip to China was the ninth person in the U.S. to test positive for a new virus, health authorities said Sunday.

Then two more cases of the virus — a husband and wife — were confirmed in San Benito County, just south of Gilroy. The husband, age 57, had recently traveled to Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus. The wife did not join him, so the transmission was person-to-person. Officials said that the patients stayed home since the husband’s return from China.

San Benito County doesn’t share geographical borders with the San Francisco Bay Area but is part of the federal San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif. combined statistical area.

The first two coronavirus cases — said to be unrelated — in Santa Clara County were confirmed in the past three or four days, according to the county Public Health Department, NBC Bay Area, reported.

Of the 10 zip codes with the highest concentration of millennial millionaires, five are in Santa Clara County and a sixth is in Fremont on the Alameda County side of the Santa Clara border, Silicon Valley Business Journal reported.

A case in San Francisco involved a visitor to the U.S. who had recently traveled to Wuhan. She arrived Jan. 23 to visit family, officials said in a news release. She stayed at home with family but went out to seek outpatient medical care. The health department said it has been bringing food and necessities to the woman and family members who have also been isolated at the home.

Silicon Valley is in a three-county region of the southern San Francisco Bay Area consisting of Santa Clara, Alameda and San Mateo counties. The San Francisco Bay area has nine counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma.

“A second case is not unexpected. With our large population and the amount of travel to China for both personal and business reasons, we will likely see more cases, including close contacts to our cases,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County health officer, in a statement.

Almost 200 Americans who were evacuated from Wuhan are under a 14-day quarantine at a military base outside Los Angeles. This is the first quarantine by the government in 50 years. Another planeload of passengers from China was expected to arrive today at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar near San Diego. The last quarantine order by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) was issued in the 1960s in connection with the smallpox virus.

The new case does not increase the public’s risk of contracting the virus, Cody said.

“We do not have evidence to suggest that the novel virus is circulating in the Bay Area, Santa Clara County or Northern California,” she said.

People are more likely to become ill from the flu, Cody said. The flu has killed about 10,000 Americans since October, according to federal data released Friday, LA Times reported.

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CDC officials said people who have been recently infected but are not experiencing symptoms may falsely indicate they do not have the virus.

“We do not believe that a negative result on this test means someone is out of danger for developing the disease,” said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “We would rather be remembered for overreacting than underreacting.”

Silicon Valley has the highest concentration of high-tech workers of any metropolitan area, with 285.9 out of every 1,000 private-sector workers. 

The San Jose Mercury News analysed select leading Silicon Valley tech firms and noted that among executives, 57 percent of employees were white, 36 percent were Asian American, and less than 1 percent were African American, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

As of 2012, 21.4 percent of the population in San Francisco was of Chinese descent, representing at least 150,000 Chinese American residents. The San Francisco Bay Area is 7.9 percent Chinese American.