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COVID-19 deaths surpass fatalities from flu in SJ County in 2018

San Joaquin County is going to miss its projected daily COVID-19 hospital admission peak by a humungous margin.

Experts projected that on May 30 — three days from now — effective social distancing would allow San Joaquin County to hit a peak of 299 daily hospital admissions. Those needing admission on any given day to an intensive care unit were expected to peak at 90 as well on May 30.

As of Tuesday at 2 p.m. there were only 13 COVID-19 patients hospitalized countywide based on the county health department’s dashboard. That’s down from 22 hospital patients last week.

Social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols has effectively rendered the fatalities in San Joaquin County to date to just two more — 33 — than the 31 who died from the flu countywide in 2018. The flu season typically ends by early May. There is no consensus of the “end” of the COVID-19 season.

An average of 0.5 people a day were admitted to a hospital last week due to COVID-19 or almost 1/600th of what the experts anticipated would happen based on the rate of infection in March and modeling done by medical researchers. There were two ICU admissions last week with 70 over the course of the pandemic

There have been 771 cases of COVID-19 detected including 19 on Monday. There are currently 173 San Joaquin County residents out of 760,000 people with some level of illness caused by COVID-19.  There have been 598 people who have recovered.

There were no COVID-19 deaths last week. The total San Joaquin County is 33 so far.

The county dashboard data base does not indicate whether those who passed away from COVID-19 had weakened immune systems due to underlying conditions.

There have been 11 flu deaths so far this season in San Joaquin. That was based on the last county health department release regarding flu deaths issued on Feb. 15. The county health department typically updates flu deaths through May. Last year, as an example, it was done ever one to two weeks.

There were 13 flu deaths in San Joaquin County in 2019 and 31 — or two less than the current COVID-19 death count — in 2018.

There are vaccines to reduce the chances of catching flu deaths tracked by the county. There is no vaccine for COVID-19.

 Without the pandemic restrictions that were put in place for social distancing and stay at home protocols that are now being relaxed, the same experts  projected 768 daily hospitalizations would likely have occurred on April 30 in addition to 90 new ICU admissions that day.

It is the severe flattening of the curve  is why Manteca’s leaders — who were described as trying to go “rogue” by some county officials when they started aggressively pushing for reopening the economy two weeks ago — are confident the right thing to do is to allow businesses to reopen as quick as possible once social distancing protocols are in place.

The protocols were designed to make sure hospitals and ICUs were not overwhelmed to allow them to make sure they could provide the level of care that sicker COVID-19 patients need. In that aspect — along with social distancing — is being credited with reducing the death toll as well as the number of people ill from COVID-19 in the county.

Experts have always warned there will be second, third, and more waves of COVID-19 cases and that a vaccine is needed to get the annual death levels down to what is considered acceptable.


To contact Dennis Wyatt,