EVEN IF 70 percent of county residents follow all the social-distancing rules, Monterey County will have an astonishing 33,000 people sick with coronavirus in the next six weeks and its hospitals will be overrun with nearly 1,000 seriously ill patients, according to data county health officer Edward Moreno presented to the board of supervisors this week.

But Moreno’s data also show that the county should have about 9,000 cases now and 300 hospitalizations, while his department has counted a total of 108 cases of the virus as of Wednesday, and just 22 people who’ve needed to be hospitalized throughout the crisis.

These are the opening two paragraphs of Kelly Nix, “Health department offers scary projection of infections in county,” Carmel Pine Cone, April 17-23, 2020. The Pine Cone is a small weekly publication on the Monterey Peninsula, but the quality of the reporting is higher than you might expect from a publication that depends solely on ad revenues.

Monterey County’s population is about 434,000.

So how did the 5-member board of supervisors, who are the ones who let Moreno impose the shutdown, react?

Nix writes:

Supervisors did not seem surprised by Moreno’s presentation and did not question the validity of the figures.