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A pandemic on the rise: Charts reveal how virus has spread at different rates in two counties

Original post made on Mar 31, 2020

Through a series of charts, track how the coronavirus has infected and killed people in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which have a combined total of over 1,150 confirmed cases as of Monday, March 30.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, March 31, 2020, 8:28 AM

Comments (8)

Posted by Mark L
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2020 at 10:05 am

Unfortunately, more fake news. Testing has been slow and there are something like 50,000 test results that have been pending for more than a week. With this kind of useless data, comparing the spread of the virus between counties is just making up data and mislabeling the chart.

Posted by Brian
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Mar 31, 2020 at 11:12 am


What is with people wanting to label everything "Fake News"? This is not fake news, it may be incomplete due to lack of information but they make it clear when they state: "County health leaders have said the number of confirmed cases is expected to rise as more testing becomes available. "

News, real news, is reporting the facts that are available and telling the reader where there are other facts or data that is not available and letting the hopefully intelligent reader use that data for themselves.

Almanac: Two other great charts to see would be the populations of each county and the number of COVID-19 tests performed in each county. That would allow a better Apples-to-Apples comparison.

Thank you for this data, I think it is interesting and will only become better over time.

Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 31, 2020 at 12:03 pm

While "fake news" is an unfair and unhelpful epithet, there is an effect here. Even now, most detected cases are severe, and are detected one or two weeks after the initial infection. My hope is, the measures put in place have significantly limited the number of people catching the virus *today*. The impact on the curve should be coming. As tests become more common, a higher percentage of milder cases will be detected; the prevailing medical view is the number of milder cases is far higher than this chart shows. This would be both good news and bad news: good news, in that the death rate would be lower than taking the current number of deaths divided by current known cases; bad news, in that vulnerable people would have more opportunities to catch the disease, and it will be harder to get under control.

Posted by whatever
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 31, 2020 at 12:31 pm

The chart is useless as a comparison between the two countries. Why? Because the population of Santa Clara county is about 1.95 million and San Mateo County about 0.78 million.
Web Link

Posted by Margo
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Mar 31, 2020 at 12:38 pm

A more useful chart might show the percentage of CV-19 cases per 1000 persons or some such. This is why EVERYONE should take a statistics course. The above comments are correct. Chart compares apples to oranges.

Posted by carl
a resident of another community
on Mar 31, 2020 at 1:18 pm

It does not appear that the graphs are labeled as to cumulative or daily cases reported. Am I missing something? With exponential growth it is not always obvious unless stated.
I appreciate the effort but I agree with many of the points questioning the value of the comparisons. Too much unknown data, plus no scaling for population.

Posted by Alan
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Mar 31, 2020 at 4:02 pm

@whatever - actually, in the early stages the population of an area doesn't have much of an effect on the number of cases. An infected person in San Mateo county than an infected person in Santa Clara county. It's only when a high percentage of the population of an area is infected that it counts. Granted, more infected people from outside probably came to Santa Clara than San Mateo county, explaining why it's further along.

Posted by sp
a resident of Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Apr 2, 2020 at 12:18 pm

Since we only have testing of people with symptoms (12% positive for COVID), better numbers to compare are numbers of hospitalizations and deaths.

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