John Horgan

“Follow the science.” “Trust the data.” These phrases have been part and parcel of the daily messaging of health authorities throughout the ongoing pandemic.

For 18 months, they have urged all of us to rely on carefully assembled statistics related to the battle to control a virus that has taken lives, wrecked families, destroyed jobs, killed businesses and shaken leadership at all levels.

The latest numerical information provided by San Mateo County and some other Bay Area counties has been heartening. Very much so.

In a nutshell, our county, along with San Francisco, Santa Clara and Marin counties in particular, has been tackling the outbreak with single-minded focus and the clear and unmistakable results of the campaign to accept vaccines that limit the spread of the disease dramatically are stunning.

As of last week’s pandemic report on the county’s public health website, 89% of all residents here aged 12 and over have accepted at least one jab. If all of the county’s 775,000 residents are considered, the figure drops to a still-impressive 76%.

It’s generally agreed that the primary, if not the sole, reason for a slight uptick in local COVID cases (due, in large part, to a mutated version of the ailment) falls on the small minority who remain adamant that they will not receive protection from any of several effective vaccines. The bulk of the population (three-quarters of us overall) has been deemed safe from hospitalization and death.

And there’s more. The county’s website also notes that, since the outbreak began and numbers were kept, just one individual below the age of 30 has died here due to the virus. One. No child of elementary or high school age has perished.

Are we nearing herd immunity (in which the virus has been deemed to be under statistical control)?

Dr. Anand Chabra, a spokesman for County Health, said, “We are closer to it.” But, he noted, a precise percentage figure remains elusive. “Nobody knows for certain.”

He added that experts have speculated that 85-90% would be a target range. “It’s a difficult question,” he admitted.

It’s always wise to be reasonably prudent in the face of a perceived threat. That’s a given.

Still, it’s fair to point out that, at least on the Peninsula, the citizenry has responded in such a concerted and helpful manner that congratulations are in order — and that includes the health care workers, volunteers and others who have pitched in to make this areawide effort so successful.

Dr. Chabra agreed. He offered that he was “very pleased and encouraged” by the overall local effort to put the clamps on COVID.

Are we out of the woods? No. But the statistical signs are strong. Extremely strong. The numbers don’t lie.

A VERY PUBLIC REMINDER: It’s been a jarring sight. A small homeless encampment has been gracing the southeast corner of the Caltrans State Route 92/El Camino Real interchange in San Mateo for weeks. It’s a stark symptom of the times. Its very public presence at that busy junction, just blocks from City Hall, has been a persistent and depressing reminder (it was still there on Sunday morning) that the down and out continue to struggle here despite efforts to feed, house and care for them.

HALL OF FAME EVENT DELAYED: The 2020 Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony, postponed once already due to the pandemic, has been delayed again. It is now scheduled to be held in the spring of 2022 at the San Mateo County History Museum in Redwood City. The Hall of Fame honors local athletes, coaches and other sporting luminaries. The first induction affair was held in 1989. So far, about 300 individuals have been inducted. A precise date for the 2022 event will be announced later this year.    

REAL PEOPLE, COME ON DOWN: Every now and then, a snappy slogan created by a media outlet is so weird it bears repeating. That’s the case with this one presented by Newsmax TV: “Real news for real people.” Real people? What other kind is there? Mannequins? Blow-up dolls? Wax figures? Someone, please help me out here.  


John Horgan, apparently a real person by any standard definition, can be contacted by email at

Recommended for you

(7) comments

Terence Y

According to the CDC, you’re supposed to wear masks indoors even if you’re fully vaccinated so will herd immunity really matter? If jabbed folks can transmit the virus just as much as, if not more than, an unjabbed person and if you’ve made it through this thing for the past 18 months without a jab, does getting a jab really matter anymore? Sounds like it doesn’t. Your body, your choice. BTW, what ever happened to the millions dollar CA giveaway to encourage people to get the jab? Did selling one’s body for $50 actually make a difference?


Will herd immunity really matter? It's unfortunate that medical personnel use this term which derived from cattle with spontaneous abortion a hundred years age and from a study with mice! Can people be herded? or caged? A better term would be community immunity e.g. the people of San Mateo County (not perfect) or population immunity for the US. (not perfect). Even if you have 90% of the people in San Mateo County immunized that still leaves about 80,000 susceptible to infection and since the vaccines are about 90% effective another 70,000 of the vaccinated are susceptible to reinfection with the variants. So it would be beneficial for the unvaccinated to get immunized and for the vaccinated to get booster shots in the future. You can do similar calculations for the state of California and the USA. Your body, follow your doctor's advice and the public health physicians recommendations. Same old advice! Stay safe, stay uninfected, Michael N.


minor correction: the vaccinated are susceptible to reinfection should be to infection with the variants.



The way I see it the well being of the masses outweighs the individual freedom people that think they are better than everyone else. I will go with real science for real people rather than pseudo science for Newsmax people. If they would have listened earlier we probably would not be having this conversation. When did you switch to pro abortion? I always thought you were extreme right wing anti abortion. BTW, how are you doing on your bamboo fibers?

Terence Y

My dear Taffy – I believe Mr. Hitler may have seen it the way you see it, too. We all know what happened. As for real science, are you saying you don’t believe your beloved CDC? You know, the CDC that said you don’t need to wear masks, then you do, then double masks, then you don’t need a mask if you’re jabbed, and then you do need a mask even if you are jabbed? The CDC that stopped tracking vaccinated people that contracted COVID? Now over 100k cases? The CDC that endorsed a test that can’t tell the difference between COVID and the flu? No wonder the flu disappeared this past year – cases were attributed to COVID. The CDC that’s allowing Biden’s south-of-the-border folks to be gallivanting around America without being vaccinated – guess the jab isn’t all that important. The CDC should have entered the Olympics, with their forward and reverse dives, triple flip (flopping), somersaults, double twists, etc. BTW, bumbling Biden wants to up the bribe to $100 for a jab? Now we know the government is willing to pay – it’s just how much. $100 is peanuts. Perhaps a fully paid life insurance policy for $10 million?



Get off your fantasy world drivel and ask an intelligent question and maybe someone will give you an answer. BTW, how are you doing on your bamboo fibers?

Terence Y

Taffy my friend – as I noted a few weeks back, when you get flustered you resort to your old “fantasy world” response due to an inability to refute facts. If you did some homework and learned the truth, you would have something to add to the conversation instead of ugliness and personal attacks. C’mon man! BTW, if you’re a Grateful Dead fan (before my time) raise a glass to Jerry Garcia, or have a pint of Cherry Garcia in honor of his birthday.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

Thank you for visiting the Daily Journal.

Please purchase an Enhanced Subscription to continue reading. To continue, please log in, or sign up for a new account.

We offer one free story view per month. If you register for an account, you will get two additional story views. After those three total views, we ask that you support us with a subscription.

A subscription to our digital content is so much more than just access to our valuable content. It means you’re helping to support a local community institution that has, from its very start, supported the betterment of our society. Thank you very much!