As third coronavirus case comes to light in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto Unified alerted to parent exposed to disease | News | Palo Alto Online |

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As third coronavirus case comes to light in Santa Clara County, Palo Alto Unified alerted to parent exposed to disease

Local public health leaders recommend public to take precaution

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At a press conference on Feb. 28 in San Jose, Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County's health officer, confirmed the third reported coronavirus case in the county. She said the infected woman's doctor contacted the public health department on Wednesday night to report the suspected case. Photo courtesy of Public Health Department Facebook Live stream.

UPDATE: A fourth case of coronavirus has been reported in Santa Clara County. Read the story here.

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Santa Clara County public health department leaders have reported a third case of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the county on Friday, the same day Palo Alto school district officials learned a parent of two students may have been exposed to the virus. The two students, who attend Palo Alto High School and JLS Middle School, were sent home as a precaution, Superintendent Don Austin said.

The third coronavirus case involves an older woman who has chronic health conditions and was hospitalized for a respiratory illness, according to a department press release.

The patient received treatment at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, confirmed Richard Angeloni, interim communications director at the hospital. It doesn't appear she was exposed to the virus through travel or had contact with a traveler or someone with the virus.

The hospital is working closely with the Santa Cara County Public Health Department, California Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said in a media statement. The hospital could not provide additional information about the patient due to federal healthcare privacy laws.

"The health and well-being of our patients, visitors, and employees are our main priorities, and we take our responsibility to provide a safe environment and the best care very seriously," he said.

At a press conference on Friday in San Jose, Dr. Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said the woman's doctor had contacted the public health department on Wednesday night to report the suspected case after the woman had trouble breathing. The department received the specimen on Thursday, and results later that night showed the woman tested positive. There is no evidence that the woman's case is linked to other cases in California, Cody added.

"The department has been working to identify contacts and understand the extent of exposures," Cody said.

"This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear," she said in a statement. "I understand this may be concerning to hear, but this is what we have been preparing for. Now we need to start taking additional actions to slow down the spread of the disease."

"This investigation is just beginning. This case does signal a shift in tactics," she added.

Isolation and quarantine, which the county has implemented for at least the past five weeks, have helped to slow the spread of the virus, but "now we need to add other health tools to the mix," she said.

The county's public health lab now has testing kits from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and assistance teams have arrived at the county's emergency operations center from the California Department of Public Health and the CDC, she said.

Austin said he did not know whether the parent was the same person announced by the county but that to his knowledge, the Palo Alto parent had only been exposed and not infected by the virus. Neither the students nor parent showed symptoms, according to a frequently asked questions page prepared by the district on Friday.

Austin said travel to China was not a factor in this case.

Lana Conaway, the district's assistant superintendent of equity and student affairs, said that the district learned from another parent that this parent "was reported to have been in public proximity to an infected person" but that "there is no indication of infection at this time." Austin said the district confirmed with the parent involved that he or she had been exposed.

Austin said he has not been notified of any mandatory quarantines of school district students or parents. (Self-quarantines are harder to monitor because there is no requirement they be reported.)

"We have 11,000-plus students with about 20,000 parents, another 2,000 employees. That's 35,000 individuals that each have some giant number of contacts. The school district, when you really play it out, literally has potentially millions of contacts. It's unreasonable to think we're going to be any better prepared to limit or control those contacts," Austin said Friday.

"What we can do," he added, "is make sure that we're on top of any reported symptoms or verified cases and handle those appropriately. Right now, at this time, we have zero."

Conaway said the district is planning "aggressive" cleaning of all hard surfaces, both inside and outside, at Paly and JLS. Additional cleaning crews are scheduled to work over the weekend at both schools.

"Although we already had protocols in place to address the coronavirus we are amping up our vigilance ... particularly at those two sites that have been identified," she said.

She encouraged parents and students to wash their hands often and to stay home if they have any symptoms, including fever or respiratory distress.

Over the weekend, an online petition emerged asking the district to take additional precautions, including starting spring break early and extending it to two weeks and providing online learning options to students who choose to stay home.

In a message to families on Sunday, Austin said that the district has consulted with a variety of public officials and health professional and that he does not see a reason to close schools at this point.

"As a Palo Alto resident, I see large crowds in supermarkets, parks, theaters, airports, restaurants, and public places. They are operating as usual with no call for closures," he wrote. "Closing schools at this point would not eliminate the infinite interactions our students would have beyond PAUSD. We understand the responsibility afforded to PAUSD while caring for your students and treat the work seriously. We cannot control every aspect of student or community life, which is the only way a quarantine works."

He asked community members to "limit speculation and overreactions."

The district has formed a team to assess the situation and provide information as possible, Austin wrote in his message to parents on Friday. The district is continuing to follow guidance from the California Department of Public Health and the CDC.

There are no plans to close schools at this point but the district is "preparing plans for this situation that include alternatives for instruction that can occur outside of the classroom," the FAQ page reads.

"We recognize that the unknown can be concerning and will continue to provide regular updates as we have them," Austin wrote to parents.

Hours earlier, the district had sent out a message about preparing for the potential risk of the spread of coronavirus in Palo Alto.

The virus has sickened more than 80,000 people worldwide, mostly in Wuhan, China. The news comes nearly a month after the county's first two cases of coronavirus were made public.

The first case was reported on Jan. 31 and involved a man who traveled from China and has since recovered. In the second case, which was reported on Feb. 2, was a woman who came to the county from Wuhan on Jan. 23 to visit family. She has stayed at the home since her arrival, with the exception of two occasions when she sought outpatient medical care, public health staff said.

In the first two cases, the patients had mild symptoms and did not require hospitalization but they remained in quarantine, according to public health leaders. The three cases don't appear to be related to each other.

In light of the coronavirus outbreak, public health leaders have provided several recommendations the public can use as a precaution. People can wash their hands to avoid getting sick or spreading germs; covering their cough; staying home if they're sick; avoiding people who are ill; and begin making plans if a family member becomes infected.

School officials can consider ways to deliver lessons through "tele-learning" and make extra efforts to clean surfaces, according to the Public Health Department. Businesses can consider substituting in-person meetings for video or telephone conferences, providing teleworking options, altering their absence policies and increase surface cleaning.

The spread of coronavirus

The virus is spread person-to-person between those who are in close contact — within about 6 feet — with one another, and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It seems to be spreading easily, and in some situations, among people who are not sure how or where they became infected, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

It is also possible the virus can spread if it is on a surface or object that someone touches before their mouth, nose or possibly eyes. "This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads," the CDC reports.

The agency has posted travel alerts advising people to avoid all non-essential travel to China, Iran, Italy and South Korea, and suggests that seniors and people with chronic medical conditions consider postponing non-essential travel to Japan. It also recommends that people reconsider travel plans on cruise ship voyages into or within Asia for now.

The virus was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and has now been detected in 57 locations internationally. It is believed to have originated in bats.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, there have been 15 confirmed cases in the U.S. since Jan. 21, with more brought in to the U.S.

It's likely to continue to spread. The CDC reports that "current global circumstances suggest it is likely that this virus will cause a pandemic."

At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it," it says.

To prevent infection, people are encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when hand-washing is not available. People should cough into a tissue or an elbow, not their hands, then throw the tissue away and wash their hands. They should avoid touching their faces.

People should stay home when sick, until their fever has been gone for at least 24 hours without fever-reducing medicines.

If you are sick with coronavirus, or think you are infected with it, you should stay home except to get medical care, separate yourself from other people and animals in your home, call ahead before visiting the doctor, wear a face mask, cover your coughs and sneezes, clean your hands often, avoid sharing personal household items and clean surfaces daily that are touched often. If you have a confirmed case, consult with healthcare providers and state and local health departments to determine when home isolation should end, according to the CDC.

Although California health leaders were initially frustrated by a dearth of testing kits, eight public health labs can now test for coronavirus, including the state microbial diseases lab in Richmond and county labs in Alameda, Santa Clara, Tulare, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties, said Dr. Christopher Braden, deputy director of the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases at the CDC. More testing kits are being shipped this week to other labs, he said.

When someone tests positive, they will be tested serially until their results return negative, he said at the county press conference. The virus can survive on surfaces for days, but it is highly susceptible to cleaning products, he said. He noted, however, that the likelihood of contracting the virus from a surface where it has been for days is small. The known transmission is person to person through droplets and aerosols from coughs and sneezes that enter through eyes, noses and mouths.

The city of Palo Alto has posted a webpage with information and local updates on the coronavirus at cityofpaloalto.org.

East Palo Alto officials in a press release on Friday said they are closely monitoring the coronavirus developments and are coordinating with San Mateo County health officials and the CDC.

Residents in East Palo Alto can learn about the virus and find updates in their city and county on the San Mateo County Health website at smchealth.org/coronavirus.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

Digital Editor Jamey Padojino and Kate Bradshaw, reporter for sister publication the Mountain View Voice, contributed to this report.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by the Almanac, Mountain View Voice and Palo Alto Online here.

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Comments

19 people like this
Posted by Email
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 28, 2020 at 3:55 pm

From email from PAUSD, the tele school will be needed in JLS and Paly if not other schools soon. These are only contacts not confirmed cases. I hope the weekend does not bring in more contact cases. Any friend of these two students...


3 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2020 at 4:11 pm

"The county Public Health Department will hold a press conference to discuss the third case today at 4 p.m., which will be livestreamed from the Public Health Department Facebook page."



Got an update? It's 4:10 and they had a live video on FB of a microphone for a while and then took it down.


3 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Ohlone School
on Feb 28, 2020 at 4:14 pm

Ohlone classrooms are missing dozens of students.
If peope are hiding and not getting tested we are all doomed


20 people like this
Posted by Stop Freaking Out
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 28, 2020 at 4:22 pm

1. [Portion removed.]

2. The US response has been exceptionally good thus far — only sixteen cases and none fatal.

3. There will be a vaccine soon. Many companies are working on this. An Israeli company says theirs will be available in several weeks.

4. [Portion removed.]

5. Wash your hands and stay cool.


55 people like this
Posted by False Info Above
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 28, 2020 at 4:37 pm

@Stop Freaking Out - please stop misleading people to avoid them from taking protective action for their families.

The Coronavirus has a mortality rate 20X - 30X greater than the common flu. It is also very contagious and does not show symptoms initially. Vaccines are at least a year away.


16 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 4:47 pm

[Portion removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]

Covid 19 spreads more easily than either SARS or Mers and therefore will infect far more people and cause far more deaths.

According to the WHO as of today there have already been 83,694 cases of Covid 19 vs 8,096 during the entire SARS epidemic and 2,494 during the entire MERS epidemic.

And as of today there have already been 2,861 deaths from the Covid 19 virus vs 774 deaths from the entire SARS erpidemic and 858 deaths from the Mers epidemic.


26 people like this
Posted by Who Does That?
a resident of Mayfield
on Feb 28, 2020 at 4:53 pm


"The district learned from another parent that this parent "was reported to have been in public proximity to an infected person" but that "there is no indication of infection at this time."

This is the type of ignorance and attitude that will make this thing get out of control: pretend it can't be you and potentially infect 1,000s more!


6 people like this
Posted by Latest data from China
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:04 pm

It's worth looking at the Chinese CDC data on number of infections, deaths and case fatality rates based on age, demographics, etc in Table 1 of this report. Especially interesting is the overall % of "mild" cases (80%), infection & mortality rates for those under 20 and much lower mortality rate for those under 60.

Web Link


15 people like this
Posted by Stop Freaking Out
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:13 pm

I’m so old I can remember all the way back to 2018 when repealing “Net Neutrality” was going to be end of the world. We survived that, and we’ll survive COVID-19.

Lots of buying opportunities on Wall Street now if you’ve got the stomach for it!


28 people like this
Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:14 pm

Dear who does that -
this is, unfrotuantelly, a result of our health care and lack of social safety net.
I do not know who this parent is, but I am guessing they weren't being ignorant or malicious. They could not afford not to go to work, and/or not to send the children to school.


9 people like this
Posted by bikermom
a resident of Mayfield
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:32 pm

according to multiple news sources a vaccine isn't available for 12-18 months. Stay healthy folks.


4 people like this
Posted by Stop Freaking Out
a resident of Woodside
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:44 pm

[Post removed.]


13 people like this
Posted by listen to the capitalist Putin fan
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:48 pm

[Post removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by resident
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:53 pm

[Post removed.]


15 people like this
Posted by listen to the capitalist Putin fan
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:56 pm

> There will be a vaccine soon. (Jerusalem Post)

The same article said:

"Last month, The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli scientists announced that they may have found a cure for cancer."

You may want to let someone else manage your investment decisions. Snake oil salesmen abound. Cure for cancer in a year?

Well, then.


14 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2020 at 5:56 pm

Ok so 2 Palo Alto students were sent home and parents of school children were notified. How about the rest of us who don't have school children?? Some outreach to the rest of us would have been appreciated.

The tv networks actually have audio that you can hear without background as do several print publications.


3 people like this
Posted by redplanet
a resident of University South
on Feb 28, 2020 at 6:25 pm

@False Info Above Take a look at this comparison article in recent issue of JAMA:

Livingston E, Bucher K, Rekito A. Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Influenza. JAMA. Published online February 26, 2020. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.2633

Web Link


9 people like this
Posted by Chris C.
a resident of Community Center
on Feb 28, 2020 at 6:32 pm

@Online Name -- you are literally posting about this in an online newspaper forum less than 2 hours after the school told anyone about the family which had been exposed. Is that insufficient notification? What is it you wanted? A personal phone call from the school district? A city-wide emergency text message alert, which says "here's what we know, there is nothing you need to do right now?"


11 people like this
Posted by Peter North
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2020 at 6:44 pm

[Post removed.]


58 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 28, 2020 at 6:44 pm

It would be nice if the district would give teachers hand sanitizer, Clorox wipes, etc for our classrooms. So far nothing.


35 people like this
Posted by District Teacher
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Teacher: yes yes yes!! Right now all I have is the sanctioned vinegar and water (or something like that?) that was provided to me. I might just have to go rogue and use wipes to clean the nasty desks, countertops, etc.


9 people like this
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 28, 2020 at 7:46 pm

@District Teacher - Can you clarify the district is sanctioning "vinegar and water" but not known effective chemicals like bleach? wat?


12 people like this
Posted by O....M....G
a resident of Mountain View
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:11 pm

Would you people look at yourselves? What the hell have we become, this insane, over-reactive, dramatic and as a very old friend of mine fondly says “mamby pamby” collective. WTH? People. STOP. take a breath. It WILL BE OK.

For gods sake, stop this overdramatization, freaking out on EVERYTHING. and I mean everything. Good god, you’d think it was the apocalypse. Or an asteroid was heading straight for us.

But hey, makes for a great news cycle and a helluva lot more page views LOL


6 people like this
Posted by Humper Biden
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:17 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


7 people like this
Posted by District Teacher
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:25 pm

@Mr. Recycle: the supplies I have are from a while ago. I don't know if we will get something new. I believe we have what we have because of this: Web Link


17 people like this
Posted by listen to the capitalist Putin fan
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:41 pm

> they imagine the spreading disease will knock confidence and our robust economy

Are you not paying attention?

Worldwide GDP *will* be down for Q1. The only question is how bad Q2 will be.

Chinese production is way down. That will effect the sales volume of many, many companies for the next 6 months. Airports are seeing vast reductions in traffic (see the numbers for Frankfort, for example.)

The meltdown has little to do with Trump.

Speaking of Trump: what do you think of his cuts to the CDC budget?


14 people like this
Posted by Jane Doe
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 28, 2020 at 8:48 pm

My daughter, her boyfriend and many of their friends and colleagues have been unusually sick recently. She worked from home for two weeks. She is convinced she has had the new virus. She is gradually getting better but was never tested and never will be,so she might never know. How many others like this?


8 people like this
Posted by Humper Biden
a resident of College Terrace
on Feb 28, 2020 at 9:05 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


12 people like this
Posted by Insider/Outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 28, 2020 at 9:55 pm



"Although we already had protocols in place to address the coronavirus we are amping up our vigilance ... particularly at those two sites that have been identified," she said.

What are the protocols? Currently many of us teachers at Paly have to buy our own supply of clorox wipes and boxes of tissues, and we certainly do not know of, or have had a staff meeting to discuss the protocols to address the virus.


15 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 28, 2020 at 9:56 pm

Chris E, and here we are several hours later and STILL the city has sent out no notices, no emails, posted nothing on NextDoor etc. to people without school age kids. We're paying pr people and city spokespeople hundreds of thousands of dollars and STILL nothing has been sent out to residents. This reminds me of when certain city officials failed to notify residents ahout major changes proposed for our neighborhoods and even on our streets.


5 people like this
Posted by Concerned
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 28, 2020 at 11:21 pm

Did the parent and kids get tested? Hope they are ok. Also concerned for the other kids in those schools. Anyone heard what the district will be doing?


6 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 28, 2020 at 11:57 pm

The virus is spreading.
California, Oregon, and now again in Washington State.
A high school student from Mill Creek (in Snohomish County) just tested positive on Friday. This high school and area have a high number of students from Asia. The first Coronavirus case reported in the US was near this area.

From Mountain View Voice:
"Santa Clara County public health department leaders reported a third case of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the county on Friday, the same day Palo Alto school district officials learned a parent of two students may have been exposed to the virus. The two students, who attend Palo Alto High School and JLS Middle School, were sent home as a precaution, Superintendent Don Austin said.
The third coronavirus case involves an older woman who has chronic health conditions and was hospitalized for a respiratory illness, according to a department press release."

Web Link

[Portion removed.]


18 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 29, 2020 at 1:10 am

[Post removed due to deletion of referenced comment.]


7 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 29, 2020 at 3:34 am

[Post removed.]


4 people like this
Posted by Brit
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:09 am

To get my green card I had to have a complete health check, including AIDS test and TB chest XRay.

I travel, so do many Americans who were born here. Why I travel is no different from an American doing business overseas, travelling for pleasure or education, or visiting family/friends.

In the past emigrating to a foreign country usually meant never going back because the cost was prohibitive. Now it is just like someone from New York going back to visit family in New York, or someone going to Hawaii for a vacation.


11 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:27 am

I agree with those advising 'don't panic'. This virus is a common cause - the whole community should pitch in and act in the best interests of everyone. Stay home if you're sick, and by all means, don't promote fear or misinformation.
It is scary how quickly some politicians have jumped on this to score points, make false charges, and discredit the government's efforts to organize. It's been charged that the White House response team isn't racially diverse enough, that Pence - former Governor serving as a liaison to other Governors - doesn't qualify, that the approach the Trump team is taking is too little, too late, that imposing a standard central and unified message is Trump's effort to silence health officials. The NY Times wants to call it the Trump virus, never letting an opportunity to smear pass without something nasty to say. Politicians and the media trying to score points with this crisis is wrong.
The country could well talk itself into a recession. Or not. As many as 80,000 people (2017-2018 season) die of the flu in the U.S. - an enormous tragedy that occurs without much national notice. This virus surprised everyone and how it will develop is not fully known but if we let the press or the politicians to exploit people's fears we'll all be in much worse shape.
The coronavirus began where most flu originates - in the 'less than ideal' co-mingling of animals and humans in China. Many don't believe - even now - that the Chinese are telling the whole truth about the cause (bats?), numbers infected, and deaths.
The week ahead may set the tone for months to come. Hopefully, in this matter, people will come together.


13 people like this
Posted by listen to the capitalist Putin fan
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 8:55 am

> "It's been charged that the White House response team isn't racially diverse enough, that Pence ... doesn't qualify, that the approach the Trump team is taking is too little, too late, that imposing a standard central and unified message is Trump's effort to silence health officials."

Mike Pence flew to Florida to fund-raise as his first action after Trump appointed him.

The President called the virus a hoax last night at a 'rally' where he also said he was there to 'troll' the Democratic primary.
BYZHe

> "It is scary how quickly some politicians have jumped on this to score points, make false charges, and discredit the government's efforts to organize."

Yes, Trump is caring the bejebbers out of ordinary folks who can read simple facts (unlike him.)

Called it a Hoax?!??!

Yep: CNBC - "Trump calls outbreak a 'hoax,' South Korea has record jump in cases"


7 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 29, 2020 at 9:15 am

Pence doesn't need to be chained to a government desk in D.C. to do his job. Most of the Democratic candidates who might be working from their offices in D.C. are out campaigning and fundraising. Is there something specific you think Pence should be doing that is not getting done by the team? You make my point, nothing helpful.

Trump was referring to Schumer's charge that Trump was not spending enough, etc., etc., as yet another false attack by the Democrats on the Job he's doing. Schumer could have simply announced that they were going to join the effort and authorize even more funds but he didn't. He took the opportunity to take a cheap shot.


24 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 9:35 am

I would encourage people to forget political postings and focus on the preparedness of our community and our families.


22 people like this
Posted by Teacher
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 10:04 am

Thanks for taking my sanitizer wipes away from my classroom. I appreciate it. I hope the eco czar loses their job now.


26 people like this
Posted by Another Teacher
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 10:09 am

WHY AM I GETTING MY INFO FROM PALO ALTO ONLINE? WHERE ARE DISTRICT LEADERS AND THEIR COMMUNICATION IN EMAILS? ???????????


14 people like this
Posted by Old Joe
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 10:29 am

Peter,

As a parent with children in the PA School System for the past 19 years. I can tell you that it is ALL about politics.

WHO is this in charge and making the decisions about our kids health ? The man office won’t give you any answers and will refer you to “policy”. This is another screw up then cover up in the making. The Feds are doing nothing.

If you care about your kids, demand answers.

Again I ask : WHO is in charge and making decisions affecting our kids health ? Who ?


10 people like this
Posted by Martha Dogood
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 29, 2020 at 10:39 am

Best advice so far is to stay calm and do practical things to keep ourselves and family well.

At the same time, the world is not ending, our lives go on as the life of our country and world goes on. No one can stop the earth from making another revolution (except perhaps a very large asteroid).

With the reality of living, comes the realities of business, politics, our day to day, all of them racing forward in the time space continuum. One reality is the fact that our current irresponsible media is absolutely fanning flames of fear and panic in their reporting. Secondly, the reality of politics, which never stops, even for a pandemic, is sadly demonstrating how some are once again trying their best to exploit fear and ignorance to gain some political advantage.

Thankfully most Americans are by now fully inoculated from the virus of American media propaganda and ill intentioned politicians. It’s very important for all of to be safe physically, stay safe as we can with our health, and safe from the damage of misinformation and panic mongers.

I’ve read a lot of material on flu strains and history of flu. So far there is no clear or definitive scientific data on how this COVID-19 is statistically or significantly worse than various flu epidemics since 2000. It is simply too early for supporting many of the speculations in the media this week. The time frame needs longer to collect data over time and study actual confirmed cases by the CDC. We won’t know for at least another month enough history and data on transmission or virulence.

Yes, in the meanwhile, stay cool, stay calm, stay well everyone. Be vigilant with hand washing and other common sense flu season defense measures. We will get through this.


19 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 10:47 am

"It is simply too early for supporting many of the speculations in the media this week. The time frame needs longer to collect data over time and study actual confirmed cases by the CDC."

Wrong. There are now more than 86 thousands confirmed cases and over 2900 deaths. That is a very large data base.

Covid 19 spreads more easily than either SARS or Mers and therefore will infect far more people and cause far more deaths.

According to the WHO as of yesterday there have already been 83,694 cases of Covid 19 vs 8,096 during the entire SARS epidemic and 2,494 during the entire MERS epidemic.

And as of yesterday there have already been 2,861 deaths from the Covid 19 virus vs 774 deaths from the entire SARS. erpidemic and 858 deaths from the Mers epidemic.

Feel free to wait for more data but do not wait to start preparing to protect yourself and your family.


9 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2020 at 11:03 am

The panic has started. Stockpiling of hand sanitizer, wipes, and toilet paper (?) is causing lines in Costco as well as empty shelves.

Being prepared, doesn't mean going mad buying up a lifetime's supply of anything.

Personal hygiene, sensible precautions, and having supplies for a week or so, but taking more than fair share will only increase the panic. Anyone remember Y2K?


3 people like this
Posted by Actual cases
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 29, 2020 at 11:20 am

Peter - if there are 86000 confirmed cases, what is your estimate of the number of people infected with the virus?


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Menlo Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 11:25 am

"what is your estimate of the number of people infected with the virus?"

I am not qualified to answer that question.


5 people like this
Posted by Online Name
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 29, 2020 at 11:28 am

The SF CHronicle has a very useful real-time Virus Tracker for the Bay Area.


4 people like this
Posted by Helen
a resident of Downtown North
on Feb 29, 2020 at 12:08 pm

[Post removed.]


16 people like this
Posted by DavidZ
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 29, 2020 at 12:45 pm

Lets show some leadership in the Bay Area and state of California and shut down the schools now. Start with 1 month shut down and extend with online classes if needed. Given that symptoms do not appear until as many as 14 days after exposure and that a person can be contagious before diagnosis, by the time we see actual cases in the school district it will be too late.


6 people like this
Posted by Person
a resident of another community
on Feb 29, 2020 at 1:10 pm

So I'm reading that stores are running low on hand sanitizer and everyone is supposedly panicking.. but then I see people out at restaurants touching everything and not washing or sanitizing their hands, going to the gym and using all equipment and locker rooms with no disinfectant spray or protection. Coworkers are coughing and sneezing and touching communal things and nobody says a word.

I'm reading about people taking precautions but I see no precautions being taken what so ever.


8 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 29, 2020 at 1:34 pm

Anybody selling "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters here yet?


7 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 29, 2020 at 2:03 pm

@Musical. Plenty of Keep Calm and Wash Your Hands posters here Web Link=


2 people like this
Posted by listen to the capitalist Putin fan
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 29, 2020 at 3:54 pm

> Is there something specific you think Pence should be doing that is not getting done by the team? You make my point, nothing helpful.

Then why appoint him if he's only going around fundraising? You make a good point - Pence is a poser.

I have a job for Pence - someone in government should go around and tell government officials to stop calling it a hoax. Start with Trump. And tell him to stop cutting funding for the CDC, Medicare and other healthcare.

Trump: "This is their new hoax"

That, my friend is calling it a hoax.

Pence was supposed to be the reasonable one that would keep control of Trump. Fail.


2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Feb 29, 2020 at 4:04 pm

Thank you Resident, hadn't seen those yet but figured the meme would pop up somewhere.


13 people like this
Posted by mauricio
a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Feb 29, 2020 at 6:12 pm

The head of the Caoronavirus task force declared while governor of Indiana that AIDS is just a gay disease, therefore Indiana residents who aren't involved in the "gay lifestyle" shouldn't be concerned, which created a serious increase in H.I.V. infections in Indiana. Trump, a science denier, appointed Mike Pence, a science denier and religious zealot, to head the Coronavirus task force. What could possibly go wrong?


9 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 29, 2020 at 6:47 pm

Why didn't the PAUSD Superintendent tell people to sneeze/cough into their arm sleeve?! That is so important for containing germs! He said to sneeze into a tissue, then throw tissue away, wash hands. Cannot do that during school. Sneezing into sleeves is much more practical and less germs spread. I still see adults sneezing and coughing into their hands! STOP IT! Use your sleeve!


5 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 29, 2020 at 6:51 pm

Agree with Martha Dogood, other viruses are shed prior to a person having symptoms too, how is this one different? Perhaps because it lasts 9 days on a surface, which is longer than 24-48 hours of most viruses. People should get into the habit of washing their hands for 20 seconds when they return home. Most people do not wash their hands long enough to kill all germs. And use a paper towel to open the bathroom door when exiting, of course.


10 people like this
Posted by Martha Dogood
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 29, 2020 at 7:13 pm

@Peter Carpenter:

He quotes me saying “It is simply too early for supporting many of the speculations in the media this week. The time frame needs longer to collect data over time and study actual confirmed cases by the CDC."

Then Mr. Carpenter says “Wrong. There are now more than 86 thousands confirmed cases and over 2900 deaths. That is a very large data base. Covid 19 spreads more easily than either SARS or Mers and therefore will infect far more people and cause far more deaths”.

First, at worst it’s a 2-3% death rate, and about 80% infected have mild to no symptoms.

My point is the data is fast developing, and the fact is panic is not warranted. It’s also a fact that pandemic data is never fully known or understood until at least 12 months after it started. The fact is much of main stream media is fanning flames of fear and panic, very irresponsibly.

What is the chance you may be killed in an auto accident? If you organized every day around this statistic, you’d not travel anywhere.

Of course, as I stated, everyone should be vigilant in protecting themselves and their families. Yet take a moment to review and study the real data. Here see good data from WHO, no need to lose your minds and go into panic mode, that’s not good for anyone:

Web Link

As a good doctor once told me as I cared for my father dying of cancer, asking if he was terminal, “everyone is terminal.” Do what you can to be healthy and safe today, yet panic will not help you or your family no matter what may happen.


14 people like this
Posted by Concerned Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Mar 1, 2020 at 1:04 am

Has anyone looked into online schools to finish out the school year for elementary school? A number of us are concerned that PAUSD will not be proactive in this area, so we may be better served coming up with a solution ourselves this week. Schools get paid when students fill seats, so they have an incentive to keep kids at school if they don’t have a remote learning option available already...hence one reason for our concern.


3 people like this
Posted by Illuminato
a resident of another community
on Mar 1, 2020 at 4:43 am

Oops, I forgot - don't eat out. Cook your own food. Food is a possible vector for this disease. This comment will probably get deleted.


5 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Community Center
on Mar 1, 2020 at 7:12 am

@Concerned Mom
Basic Aid Districts, like PAUSD, do not get their income from daily attendance. But your concern raises a good point that the state should quickly waive this formula for the 90% of districts that are not Basic Aid.


3 people like this
Posted by anonymous
a resident of Professorville
on Mar 1, 2020 at 9:56 am

As a community, it is important that we don't go the way of hysteria! The sky is not falling! If you want LOCAL and ACCURATE information about the coronovirus look at the website for the Santa Clara County Health Department. PAUSD will get the advice of experts, not nervous parents.


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