Just over two weeks ago Mammoth Mountain Ski Area closed indefinitely. The announcement, which a time traveler from a few months ago might not believe, came as a surprise to skiers who live in ski bum bliss and a relief to residents who pay attention to the news.

Mono County now has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest per capita COVID-19 rate in California, according to the National COVID-19 Interactive Map.

The coronavirus was likely here when the chairlifts were still spinning.

Within the last week, four patients became critically ill and at least two were transferred to Reno. The increase in severe COVID-19 cases suggests that a “crushing wave of very sick people is coming soon,” Public Health Officer Dr. Tom Boo said. “The reality is extremely alarming.”

Pandemic thrives on movement. Movement of people, movement of the virus. Even if local public health officials have been repeatedly advising residents to stay home, the coronavirus was likely here when the chairlifts were still spinning.

What we are seeing today happened two weeks ago, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, an infectious disease epidemiologist, explained at a World Health Organization briefing today. Symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new COVID-19 map, which was created by a California State University Northridge geography professor using John Hopkins University data, shows cases per capita, nationwide. The low population density in Mono County combined with high rates of tourism could explain why it became the state’s most highly infected county per capita, Professor Steve Graves explained.

Read the full story online at Adventure Journal.

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