SJ Braces for 2,000 COVID-19 Deaths Over Next Two Months

COVID-19 could kill as many as 2,000 people in Santa Clara County within the next two months, according to preliminary projections from San Jose’s emergency response team.

That’s the optimistic outlook, which assumes people take social distancing seriously, San Jose Deputy City Manager Kip Harkness said at a public meeting earlier this week.

But if people ignore public health guidelines about staying six feet apart and at home as much as possible, as many as 16,000 could die by the end of May.

Harkness, who leads the city’s 220-person Emergency Operations Center, conveyed the predictions on a graphic with three curves.

Source: City of San Jose

The lowest curve, projecting roughly 2,000 deaths, represents a scenario in which people take the epidemiological mandates seriously. A middle curve, symbolizing moderate public compliance, indicates deaths reaching close to 8,000.

The high curve—that is, what would happen if we made no effort to curb the outbreak—shows 12,000 to 16,000 people dying from the respiratory disease.

“This is not a crystal ball predicting the future,” Harkness told the City Council during his presentation, “and the actions we take can very much influence this data.”

The next three weeks are critical, he added, because that’s when data modeling predicts a peak in the outbreak. “We have one opportunity to bend the curve of this epidemic, and that moment is now,” Harkness told the roomful of electeds safely seated several feet apart from one another.

Keeping that curve as flat as possible requires religiously following public health orders to stay home and bolstering the supply of ventilators for the sickest patients.

Source: City of San Jose

“Our prime directive overall is to slow and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our most vulnerable,” he said.

For those who aren’t on the front lines, the single most important thing they could do is stay put, he stressed. “This is a weird moment where the biggest thing you can do to help is do nothing,” he sad. “Go home, stay on your couch, watch your Netflix.”

Officials from Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department expressed uncertainty about the city’s projections, saying they had yet to review the city’s methodology.

“The model shared by the City of San Jose projecting deaths and future case counts of COVID-19 was not produced, reviewed, or vetted by the County of Santa Clara,” the agency’s communications team told reporters. “The County of Santa Clara continues to actively assess the situation and take necessary actions to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in our community and protect those most at risk for severe illness.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1,186 people nationwide have died from the new coronavirus and that 81,836 have been sickened by it. With 77,000 tests conducted and only a quarter of the results returned, California has confirmed more than 3,000 cases and 65 deaths. Worldwide, the official case count approaches 530,000, with fatalities closing in on 24,000.

But a widespread testing shortage has kept those numbers artificially low.

Harkness said the disparity between positive tests and actual cases is stark. While the county—one of the hardest-hit in California—has confirmed 542 cases and 19 deaths to date, he said the city’s projections put the real case count closer to 20,000.

Source: City of San Jose

Jennifer Wadsworth is the news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.


  1. This number is going to turn out to be total BS, as will the predictions that hundreds of thousands will die from this nationwide. So far, just 80 have died in the entire state. Please admit as much two months from now, when it becomes clear that economy-crushing response to this exaggerated threat turns out to have the actual disaster.

    • Pete – I certainly hope you are correct. However, I think that 2,000 is a very optimistic view. I suspect that 1 year from now California will be looking at 700K-800K deaths. So 2,000 in the next two months is probably underrated.

      That 2,000 number assumes everyone (100%) of the people taking precautions. I can tell you that is not happening. I see people having parties and kids playing in the park. The kid at the grocery store practically climbed over us.

      The problem with the virus is not the mortality rate (approx 4%), it the ability for the medical system to treat all the people at the same time. That is something that we are not prepared for.

      Even if you are healthy, you can spread the virus to others, including your parents, grandparents, kids, anyone you come into contact with. We are fighting a non-linear curve, meaning the rate of infection grows faster as more people get infected.

      In the end these are all models and are only as good as the data. So it could be wrong, but why take a chance? It’s tough on everyone, and everyone should take it seriously even if the numbers are “total BS”.

      When President Trump said Gavin Newsom has been very generous and helpful, you know it’s not a political agenda.

      • > The problem with the virus is not the mortality rate (approx 4%), . . .

        Not what I’ve heard. Cite your source.

        Your credibility is on the line.

        If you can’t support this claim, everything else you’ve said is just “fruit of the poisoned tree”.

        • What, I have a credibility? Who knew?

          While agree the media and government both have a bit of of the “chicken littles”. This is real.

          The article you pointed to, published February 28, 2020, references the mortality rate of influenza, not Covid-19.

          “…Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%)”

          The data I reference is from the WHO (not the band) – Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) situation reports. Today’s report is linked below

          Today (3/27/20) the report says globally there are 509,164 and 23,335 dead. That is a mortality rate of 4.59%. This includes Italy. Italy has a lot of elderly and a mortality rate of a ~10%.

          The mortality rate by age increases dramatically for people over 70. This is from Feb 29th, but still valid as the dataset is large.

          Subtracting out Italy as an outlier, 80,539 (known cases) 8165 (dead). The total is adjusted to 428,625 known cases and 15,170 dead with a mortality rate of ~3.5%.

          Best case is 3.5% and worst case is 4.5% mortality.

          • > Best case is 3.5% and worst case is 4.5% mortality.

            Thanks. I accept that you have a basis for your numbers.

            Your credibility is restored. For the time being.

            Still, I think your numbers are high, primarily because of asymptomatic cases and the scarcity of testing to verify cases.

            And, also, I think your stats contain an overrepresentation of sick and old people.

            I think the Princess cruise ship study gave a number of 1.1 percent for a more “diverse” population in a static environment.

          • You’re right the numbers might be a bit high because of non-diagnosed patients, and I hope so. Either way the projection models, from the experts, are based on real data that we have today. If we had perfect data and perfect models, we would know who would live and die. It’s really some complex modeling that depends infection rates, incubation time, percentage of people needing treatment, age, and some other stuff. The only thing we can affect is the infection rate by using isolation techniques.

            Dr. Spock said it best, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.”

    • Take it seriously. Look at what happened in China and Italy. In Feb, President Said virus is under control. Now virus control the whole country! Now is time to wake up.

  2. Many will die around the world and in United States but not as many in California because God wants it that way. He has a treasure in California. Men love money and power more than their lives and souls. None of that money and power you will take to your grave. Fear the lord more than ever because fire comes out of his nostrils. Psalm 9:20; Jeremiah 17:17, Revelation 20:8, Proverbs 30-7-9. What is imposible for men it is not for the lord. The worst blind person is the one that does not want to see! Stay at home people to protect yourself and others. If you are alive and healthy, you can start all over. Death is irreversible!

  3. Jeniffer, what concerns me the most about this information is the “Harkness told the roomful of electeds.” Was this a virtual roomful? Or is this an example of do as I say not as I do?

    • Great question! They were seated several feet apart, around long conference tables. I updated the story to note that they were distancing. Thanks for asking!

  4. The concern I have about Mr. Harkness is that after researching and reading his online public information, it appears he has a grandiose personality, Trump like. People with this type of personality tend to be emotionally shorty, make things bigger than what they are, and are attention seekers! His evidence is weak! Stay at home people! There is only one that can protect you, so pray, pray, and pray!

  5. So FEXXNIST , well established here as a Jewish supremist, having called out Sanders as as anti semetic, and you now say “God wants it that way”. Oh my goodness. FEX, how much rope can you play out, before answering for this and all your ghastly smears of Sanders. You get a free pass from Bubble, Smokey, and the usual who adopt this site as their own playground. You’re not afforded this latitude from me, a resident of Mtn. View who signs not in anonimity but with real name.

    • Robert, I am a Christian, a Jew, a Democrat, a Feminists , and anti communists. Of course, I want communists and anti-semites out of the Democratic Party! BERNIE SANDERS IS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY SPOILER AND A COMMUNIST!

      • > Robert, I am a Christian . . ., a Democrat,

        Being a Democrat is not exactly the same as being on a slave plantation. You’re free to run away.

        You don’t HAVE to be Adam Schiff, or Nancy Pelosi, or Maxine Waters, or IIlan Omar, or AOC.

        You could be a “NOT a Democrat”. Most Californians are “NOT a Democrats”.

        It’s your choice.

        • Bubble, I am a Democrat and truly dislike replica of Hernesto Che Guevara, AOC, and Mega adulterous Ilhan Omar. Those two belong to Bernie’s communist club. They use the Democrat title to win elections, supported by the communists’ money of those in SV. Other than that, the Democratic Party is a spectrum, antisemites and communists NOT ALLOWED!

    • Robert, if you want to call me a JEWISH supremist, go ahead papa. I am proud of my JEWISH and Christianity. Como la vez Manuel?

    • > You get a free pass from Bubble, . . .


      WHAT ? ! ! !

      You haven’t been paying attention. I haven’t been giving her a “free pass”; I have been inviting her to unleash her inner FEXXY.

      I didn’t give her a “free pass”. I just suggested to her that “the door is open” and, whadiya know, the REAL FEXXY bursts out.

      FEXXY gave herself the “free pass”.

      • Jerold, Bernie Sanders is a JEWISH TRAITOR! He uses his Jewish’s card when it is convenient. When it is not, he calls Jewish occupants of their God’s given land which both history and Christian Bible support. That will be similar to stating that Native Americans are occupants of their God’s given land! United States will forever be a Native Land. Israel, Judea, will forever be the land of the Jews! Bernie Sanders gives a sh!t about Judaism. And I must behave at least for today since it is already Saturday.

  6. What a bunch of BS. Can I start seeing how staying at home has been doing rather than seeing graphs all the time on how we are all going to die? What about curves showing the ramp in hospital capacity? ventilators? what about treatments trials going on with multiple drugs??

    • Viper, you may be staying at home. For those of us with other chores, making sure our elders at our church and community have their basics, this is the busiest time. They don’t drive or they may not have enough money. Today I spent the whole day delivering water and other groceries which is difficult. My area included central San Jose to Gilroy. Luckily, cashiers I know in Gilroy allowed me to take up to six gallons of water each time. Thus, they made my work easier. There is a two gallon limit now. Saint Mary’s church in Gilroy is also very busy giving food to the poorest in the community. Thus, some churches are very busy! I delivered all this before the sunset, Saturday.

  7. Jennifer is among the thousands of journalists blindly accepting and then reporting projections that have zero scientific basis. Earlier threads at SJI have criticized the lack of preparedness of the SJ OEM, and Harkness in particular, yet now Jenn just parrots his projection without providing the basis for it. So much for investigative journalism. The press just accepts as gospel all negative pronouncements. Accept Pete Malloy’s challenge.
    On another note,
    Check out

    • You’re being harsh on Jennifer. The article you linked to is in the OPINION section, it’s not news or facts in anyway shape or form. Opinions are often based on emotions or feelings, where facts are based on data and science. If you want an opinion don’t look at facts.

      In this case she went to the meeting in person, while we are safely tucked in our homes and reported on what was said and done. Her job is to report the facts on what happened and she did that. She didn’t add her personal opinion to skew the content. It is solid reporting. Most of the crap from the Merc (and other papers) is repurposed AP or Reuters articles, written in non-nonsensical piecemeal bits.

      She spends her day actually writing about what’s happening in our corner of the world. Then posts it and lets us idiots debate about it. Personally, I appreciate it and you should too!

  8. Please make those still pending case finished. Why there are so many pending case. on Mach 23 California claim tested 13,560 case, till today still 12,100 pending. We are the worst not only in US, but around the world. The system looks broken. Before talking about the death rate and number, do your job. You have 50K out of 59K case pending and you make a prediction?

  9. > “Dr. Spock said it best, “Logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Captain Kirk answers, “Or the one.”

    Jeremy Bentham: “The greatest good for the greatest number”.

    AKA “Utilitarianism”

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