At least 20 states have reported spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases amid reopenings and protests, with at least 12 states experiencing their highest seven-day averages yet. At the same time, previous hotspots like New York City are reporting a decrease in cases.
Arizona, which has seen one of the largest jumps in the country, ordered its hospitals to activate emergency plans this week. Numbers are climbing in Texas, with officials in Dallas reporting the city’s highest ever one-day total for new infections on Thursday. The state of Florida reported more than 1,000 new cases for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday and California saw a 40% rise in the number of cases last week.
In total, officials in the US have reported nearly 2 million infections and 112,000 deaths. But according to an investigation by the New York Times, states have undercounted deaths due to limited testing availability.
Roughly 20,000 new cases are being reported every day (down from a peak of 30,000 in April), but the decrease has been attributed to the improving situation in some of the worst-hit cities and states.
“Experts have become concerned that a coronavirus fatigue has hit the US as it continues its push to reopen the economy and protesters take to the streets to demand justice over the death of George Floyd,” reports US News.
In other words, people are sick and tired of COVID-19 restrictions and closures. They want things to be normal again.
“People feel they have done distancing and they are thirsting to get outside and connect with each other,” notes Wafaa El-Sadr, a professor of epidemiology at Colombia University. “If this surge requires us taking a step back, how do we convince people to do that? I feel we’ve made five steps forward and now maybe one step back.”
According to a study published this week in the journal Nature, the emergency measures we put into place to slow the spread of COVID-19 may have prevented up to 60 million cases in the United States.
“I don’t think any human endeavor has ever saved so many lives in such a short period of time,” says lead study author Solomon Hsiang. “There have been huge personal costs to staying home and canceling events, but the data show that each day made a profound difference. By using science and cooperating, we changed the course of history.”
The results of the study suggest that school closures, social distancing, and other emergency measures slowed the rate of new infections by 32% per day. Globally, the situation continues to deteriorate with June 7th marking the day with the most reported new cases so far (more than 136,000).
Author’s Note: This increase was expected and predicted and the question now is how much of a problem it will be. Hospitals are prepared and effective treatments are in the works. New cases is not the issue. Resulting deaths will be the telling statistic.