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Coronavirus Pandemic: San Francisco Emergency Officials Say Bay Area Just Days Behind New York

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- When it comes to the coronavirus, could California soon follow in New York's footsteps?

On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo expressed his thoughts bluntly: "New York is the canary in the coal mine. What happens in New York will happen in California and Washington State and Illinois."

But will the spike of cases be as high as New York or will the curve flatten here in the Bay Area?

A source who works at the San Francisco Emergency Management Dept. tells KPIX 5 officials they believe the Bay Area is 5 to 10 days behind New York, and that this week will be crucial toward determining whether it will be different here.

"It will flatten out if people follow the shelter-in-place [order]," the source said. "If people continue to gather in groups it's going to get bad. Really bad."

Tuesday night on the sidewalks of the city, people continued to see quite a bit of social distancing. A rainbow that flashed on the Marina Green could be a symbol of hope, as fewer people were out exercising than there were a few days ago. But it's a weekday and a storm was pushing in.

The Emergency Management Dept. source said it will take 3 to 4 weeks to know for sure whether our shelter in place is working, but there is some hope that the fact that the Bay Area started such social distancing measures earlier than New York could make some difference. There is one other major x-factor: coronavirus testing is necessary to be able to run the numbers.

"You need to look at positive tests and we haven't tested that many people yet," the source said. "Mass testing is a ways off."

When could this all be over? That's not clear. But Governor Gavin Newsom shot down the idea that California will be able to lift restrictive measures by mid-April, as President Trump suggested on Tuesday.

"April, I think that would be misleading to represent, at least for California," Newsom said. "The next 6 to 8 weeks will be pivotal, but I think April for California would be sooner than I think, than any of the experts that I talked to would believe, is possible."

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