Santa Clara County Bans All Gatherings of 1000+ People After Coronavirus Death

The County of Santa Clara's Public Health Department today issued a mandatory order that requires all mass gatherings of 1,000 or more people in Santa Clara County to be canceled.


Santa Clara County includes cities like Cupertino, Palo Alto, Mountain View, and San Jose, and it is the county where Apple's two main campuses are located along with many of its satellite offices.

Last week, county officials issued guidelines suggesting that companies in the area minimize or cancel large in-person meetings and conferences, but the new ban is a requirement that will prevent any major gatherings.

The ban takes effect at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time on March 11 and for now, will last for three weeks. Santa Clara County is putting the ban in place as it waits for more widespread testing and for more details on how COVID-19 spreads.

"This is a critical moment in the growing outbreak of COVID-19 in Santa Clara County. The strong measures we are taking today are designed to slow the spread of disease," said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County Health Officer. "Today's order and new recommendations will reduce the number of people who develop severe illness and will help prevent our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed. This is critically important for anyone with healthcare needs, not just those most vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19."

The three-week ban will only last until the beginning of April, but ahead of when the mandatory ban was in place, tech companies had already started canceling events. Both Facebook and Google have canceled planned developer events set to take place in May that would have had around 5,000 attendees.

Apple still has not made any announcements about WWDC, which is typically held in June at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California, and the length of this ban will not affect June plans, but with the growing number of coronavirus cases in the county, Apple may cancel the event as a precaution.

Apple could still provide WWDC content in a digital format with online presentations for media and developers, but it's not entirely clear what the company's plan is at this time. We should be hearing soon, as Apple normally announces WWDC info right around this time in March.

The county's decision to blanket ban all events of 1,000 or more people comes as Santa Clara County experienced its first death due to the coronavirus. Santa Clara County has a total of 43 known COVID-19 cases, with more in other counties in the Bay Area.

Related Roundup: WWDC 2020

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
17 weeks ago


This PANIC is going to get much, much worse before it starts to get better.



Groups of individuals will still have to come together to set the damn event up–can’t all be done remotely and can’t all be done without physical interaction with groups of people.



Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 weeks ago


She isn’t posting anything but the very stuff that causes the panic. It’s sad when people die...I understand that. But the scale is nothing even close to the flu at this point. Imagine if we reported every case of the flu, pneumonia, or any other disease. We live in a world with constant updates from the media and crazy prognostications that extrapolate small data points into 1 in 3 Americans will be infected and you’ll know someone who dies from Covid19.

Social media totally distorts the scale of everything and people speak in these broad strokes that feed off each other until it’s a frenzy.

She’s right...coronavirus isn’t the flu...it’s not nearly as bad.

We should take precautions but we should take precautions for many viruses. I guess we have just given up on containing the flu?

I've seen a lot of this, people comparing COVID-19 to the seasonal flu. But those comparisons typically overlook the important difference which makes COVID-19 something which we should be concerned about to an even greater degree than we are typically concerned about the seasonal flu. (We should also be, and many are, pretty concerned about the seasonal flu itself.)

That difference is the disparate degrees to which humans have acquired immunity to SARS-CoV-2 and various influenza viruses.

The reader's digest version is this. The typical seasonal flu is, to some degree, self-containing. Plus we're able to offer flu shots which help to contain it further. Many humans have had various versions of the seasonal flu and thus have acquired immunity to those versions - i.e., their bodies recognize the antigens of the various influenza viruses and can produce the antibodies needed to fight them. Those influenza viruses mutate, but the antigenic changes typically only amount to what is referred to as drift. The antigens change only a little and are thus often still recognized by the bodies of people who have acquired immunity to that strain of influenza virus.

Over time the mutations can accumulate such that the changes to the antigens of the influenza viruses make them unrecognized even to the bodies of people who have immunity to that strain. It depends on a number of factors, to include how long it's been since someone had that version of the flu and how long it's been since they had a flu vaccine and what viruses were in that vaccine.

But the big picture point is, a lot of humans have some degree of immunity to some of the strains of influenza viruses. This effectively reduces the R0 of those viruses and slows or constrains their spread. Acquired immunity throws up roadblocks to its retransmission. So we see outbreaks of the seasonal flu, but we typically don't see it spread to the majority of the population of the planet. Because of previous infections and vaccines it isn't able to. There's also the effects of warmer weather which effectively arrests its spread every year. We don't know whether that will happen with SARS-CoV-2.

Sometimes an influenza virus mutates dramatically, by means I won't get lost in here, such that it experiences what is referred to as antigenic shift rather than antigenic drift. When that happens, the acquired immunity that people have isn't really helpful. The antigens have changed so much that people's bodies can't recognize them and produce the antibodies needed to fight them. When this happens the seasonal flu becomes something different, something that's able to spread further and - if it's virulent enough - kill many millions of people. The Spanish Flu may have killed a hundred million people in the years following WWI, at a time when there were only 2 billion people on the planet.

COVID-19 is more like the Spanish Flu than the typical seasonal flu. Very few humans have acquired immunity to SARS-CoV-2. So, unlike the influenza strains which cause the typical seasonal flu, it could spread like wildfire to most all humans on the planet. It may also, as it appears now, cause mortality at a higher rate than the typical seasonal flu.

We aren't concerned about COVID-19 and taking drastic actions in response to it because we know for certain that it will spread around the world and cause tens of millions of deaths. Rather, we should be concerned about it because there's a real chance that it could do those things. Maybe it won't, but unlike the typical seasonal flu it could. If it were to spread to half the population of the planet (which is quite plausible), and even if its mortality rate only ends up being 1%, that would mean 40 million deaths caused by it.

On one hand we could take the position... Let's not make these significant changes in the way we go about our daily lives because this virus is already on the loose and we aren't going to be able to contain it anyway. So let's just let it run its course and get on with our lives. But there are a number of problems with that tack. For one, who wants to be among the 10 or 100 million who die? Or among the 100 million or billion who are close to those who die? And what happens to health care systems? We just don't have the infrastructure to deal with the kinds of numbers of sick people which the virus could cause. How many hosptial beds are there in the U.S., about a million?

Or we could take the position... We should significantly alter the way we go about our daily lives for a while so that we can slow its spread and buy ourselves time to develop a vaccine. That way we might save a large portion of the planet from getting it and save 5 or 20 or 100 million lives.

At any rate, COVID-19 is different from the seasonal flu in important ways - i.e., the lack of widespread acquired immunity, the potentially higher mortality rate, the unknowns to include whether summer will suppress its spread. Those differences make it reasonable to be concerned about COVID-19 to a greater degree than, and take actions in response to it which go above and beyond, that which we are and do for the seasonal flu.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 weeks ago


Closing down entire countries to try to contain something that has probably already broken out has diminishing returns.

If only people had taken it more seriously. We should really tell more people to take it seriously.

arn
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 weeks ago


This is going to get much, much worse before it starts to get better.

This PANIC is going to get much, much worse before it starts to get better.


WWDC will be a virtual thing this year for sure...

Groups of individuals will still have to come together to set the damn event up–can’t all be done remotely and can’t all be done without physical interaction with groups of people.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 weeks ago


The CDC info I see has 18k dying in the US from H1N1, and between 151k and 575k deaths worldwide. We aren’t even close to this number and yet by the hysteria you would think we were.

Because it's not apples to apples. I don't see how this is hard to understand. No one is saying to irrationally freak out, but it makes sense to understand that circumstances are different.

H1N1 had a death rate of 0.01-0.08% (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_flu_pandemic)

People are worried that Coronavirus has a death rate 25x to 200x higher. Maybe it's not quite that high but it seems higher. So that means if it infects the same number of people as H1N1 in the US alone that means 450,000 to 3,600,000 deaths.

the entire country of Italy is on quarantine because of this possibility (and that their health care resources are stretched as is). Is that irrational? Or is it a reasonable precaution to try to prevent a ton of deaths?

arn
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
17 weeks ago
I'm from Milan and I can tell you many people in Italy thought the virus wasn't that serious. School have been closed for weeks, and students instead of staying at home spent time together, like there were on vacation. Ski resorts were full of people, so were pubs and disco.
Many people tried to minimise, it is not going to kill me, you die only if you are old, etc.
Now the entire country is in a partial lockdown, you can still go to work but if the situation doesn't improve we'll face even worse restrictions. No more weddings, no more funerals. A friend of mine lost her father and wasn't even able to see him at the hospital, she said goodbye on the phone and now he is buried, that's it. Think about that, I'm sure everyone has a grandfather, an old uncle or a family member with some medical conditions. If you get the virus, they will.

The first known patient is finally starting to recover, after 2 weeks in hospital, and he is 38. The majority of death are in elderly people, but just yesterday a 18 old guy was taken to the hospital in serious conditions.
Hospitals are full of people, they opened a military one to civilians and they're going to use hotels to put people in quarantine.
The problem is you have corona virus, but you have other patients. There are going to be less car accidents as people stay at home, but strokes still happen, so you have the usual casualties plus the corona virus. Doctors and paramedics are working around the clock, some of them haven't seen their families since the beginning of the crisis, the government just hired hundreds of new nurses to face the crisis.
Experts called for restricting measures in February and people laughed at them, but they were right.
The economic loss will be huge for us, but the more we wait for a lockdown the worst will be.

Other EU countries and the USA can learn from our mistakes. Place be considerate, avoid crowded places, clean your hands and if you're sick don't leave home. Some people need to go to work, but who can do his job from home should be fully remote for a few weeks.

Sorry for the long post, but I read comments of people who haven't understood how serious the situation is and they reminded me of people in Italy a couple of weeks ago.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

5.4-Inch iPhone 12 Model Size Compared to Original iPhone SE and iPhone 7

Saturday July 4, 2020 9:44 pm PDT by
iPhone 12 dummy models based on leaked schematics have been starting to circulate online and in online marketplaces. Not happy with the circulating size comparisons between the rumored 5.4" iPhone 12 and the original iPhone SE models, MacRumors forum user iZac took matters into his own hands and purchased his own 5.4" dummy model to provide more detailed size comparisons between the original...

Top Stories: iPhone 12 Rumors, Apple's A12Z-Based Mac mini, Leaked iMac, and More!

Saturday July 4, 2020 6:00 am PDT by
With WWDC now behind us, our attention this week largely turned back to rumors, led by increasing claims that Apple controversially won't be including a power adapter in the box with the iPhone 12. We also saw a few other iPhone 12 rumors, signs of an upcoming iMac update, and some more information on timing of updates for Apple's smaller iPads. The other big topic this week was Apple's...

Apple Survey Asks iPhone Users What They Do With Old Power Adapters

Friday July 3, 2020 10:13 am PDT by
Amid multiple reports that Apple will no longer include a power adapter in its iPhone boxes starting with the iPhone 12 later this year, it appears Apple is surveying recent iPhone buyers to ask about what they've done with the power adapters that came with their previous iPhones. Screenshot via Twitter user @bedabb_ Apple's surveys typically cover numerous aspects of its products, but...

Tom Hanks Discusses 'Heartbreaking' Shift of WWII Film Greyhound From Theatrical Blockbuster to Apple TV+ Exclusive

Monday July 6, 2020 7:53 am PDT by
Tom Hanks' WWII drama "Greyhound" is set to premiere on Apple TV+ this Friday, July 10, and ahead of that debut the actor gave an interview with The Guardian discussing the film. "Greyhound" was originally planned to see a theatrical release this summer, and was repeatedly delayed in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Apple won the streaming rights to the film, and in the new...

Shipping Estimates for 27-Inch iMac Continue to Slip, Now Into September

Monday July 6, 2020 6:55 am PDT by
Amid rumors and hints of a forthcoming update for the iMac, supplies of Apple's current 27-inch iMac continue to dwindle with mid- and high-end stock configurations now seeing shipping estimates pushed back into September. The 27-inch iMac has seen tight supplies and extended shipping estimates for months now, but the situation has been gradually worsening to the point where new buyers can...

Apple Officially Obsoletes First MacBook Pro With a Retina Display

Wednesday July 1, 2020 3:40 am PDT by
As expected, Apple's first MacBook Pro with a Retina display is now officially classed as "obsolete" worldwide, just over eight years after its release. In a support document, Apple notes that obsolete products are no longer eligible for hardware service, with "no exceptions." This means that any mid-2012 Retina MacBook Pro 15-inch models still out there that require a battery or other...

First Arm-Based Macs to Be 13-Inch MacBook Pro and Redesigned iMac, Launches Coming in Late 2020 or Early 2021

Sunday June 21, 2020 9:18 am PDT by
Apple plans to introduce its Arm-based custom designed chips for Macs at WWDC, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a note to investors today, agreeing with an earlier report from Bloomberg. Kuo says that the first Mac models to adopt Arm-based chips will be the 13.3-inch MacBook Pro and an iMac with a redesigned form factor, with Apple planning to launch the new models in the in fourth...

Hands On With iPhone 12 Models Showing New Sizes and Design

Monday July 6, 2020 2:04 pm PDT by
Ahead of the launch of new iPhones we often see dummy models created based on leaked schematics and specifications, with those models designed to let case makers create cases for the new devices ahead of their release. We got our hands on a set of dummy models that represent the iPhone 12 lineup, giving us our first close look at the iPhone 4-style design and the different size options. Subscri ...

EU Advertisers Criticize New App Tracking Privacy Controls in iOS 14

Friday July 3, 2020 3:44 am PDT by
A Google-backed group of European digital advertising associations has criticized Apple for requiring apps in iOS 14 to seek additional permission from users before tracking them across other apps and websites, reports Reuters. Sixteen marketing associations, some of which are backed by Facebook and Alphabet's Google, faulted Apple for not adhering to an ad-industry system for seeking user...

LinkedIn Says iOS App Reading Clipboard With Every Keystroke is a Bug, Fix Coming

Friday July 3, 2020 1:08 pm PDT by
iOS 14 introduces a feature that alerts users when apps access their clipboards, and tons of apps have been caught clipboard snooping. LinkedIn is one of the iOS apps that has been reading user clipboards, and iPhone owners have complained that the app copies the contents of the clipboard with every keystroke. LinkedIn is copying the contents of my clipboard every keystroke. IOS 14 allows ...