US Medical News: COVID-19 Second Wave In America Emerges With Texas Leading The Most New Infections
US Medical News
: The state of Texas on Wednesday (June 10) reported 2,504 new COVID-19 cases, the highest one-day total since the pandemic emerged.
Also, a month into its reopening, Florida this week reported 8,553 new cases - the most of any seven-day period.
Meanwhile California's hospitalizations are at their highest since May 13 and have risen in nine of the past 10 days.
As of 2300 hrs (California), the total number of infected cases in the United States stands at 2,066,401 while the total number of Americans who have died so far from the COVID-19 disease stands at 115,130.
An emerging onslaught of the novel coronavirus is bringing challenges for residents and the economy in pockets across the US.
The new localized surges have raised alarms among experts even as they're masked by the nation's overall case count, which early this week rose just under 1 per cent, the smallest increase since March.
Dr Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Centre for Health Security said, "There is a new wave coming in parts of the country. It's small and it's distant so far, but it's coming."
Although the outbreaks come weeks into state reopenings, it's not clear that they're linked to increased economic activity.
Also And health experts say it's still too soon to tell whether the massive protests against police brutality that have erupted in the past two weeks have led to more infections.
In states like Georgia, where hair salons, tattoo parlors and gyms have been operating for a month-and-a-half, case numbers have plateaued, flummoxing experts.
Whereas in California, which imposed a stay-at-home order in late March, San Francisco saw zero cases for three consecutive days this week, while Los Angeles County reported well over half of the state's new cases.
The redundant White House Coronavirus Task Force has yet to see any relationship between reopening and increased cases of Covid-19, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said on a podcast.
However in some states, rising numbers outpace increases in testing, raising concerns about whether the virus can be controlled.
Dr Toner added, “It will take a couple of weeks to know but by then it's going to be pretty late to respond.”
After a national shutdown that arrested the spread, rising illness had been expected as restrictions loosened.
The emerging trend has been observed across 22 states in recent weeks, though many increases are steady but slow.
In the state of New York, the hardest hit by Covid-19, Governor Andrew Cuomo only recently started reopening by region. New York City, the epicentre, began the first of four phases on Monday.
Mr Cuomo said "We know as a fact that reopening other states, we're seeing significant problems. Just because you reopen does not mean you will have a spike, but if you are not smart, you can have a spike."
Medical Experts see evidence of a sec
ond wave building in Arizona, Texas, Florida and California.
Dr Jeffrey Morris, director of the division of biostatistics at University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine said, “Arizona sticks out like a sore thumb in terms of a major problem.”
The state’s daily tally of new cases has abruptly spiked in the last two weeks, hitting an all-time high of 1,187 on June 2. This week, its Department of Health Services urged hospitals to activate emergency plans.
Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ told a Phoenix television station that she was concerned about the rising case count and percentage of people tested who are found to be positive.
The public hospital system in Phoenix has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases during the past two weeks. It's expanded its intensive care capacity and those beds are 87 per cent full, about half with COVID-19 patients, according to Dr Michael White, the chief medical officer.
The state of Texas on Wednesday reported a 4.7 per cent jump in hospitalizations to 2,153, the fourth consecutive daily increase.
The figures showing an escalation came as Governor Greg Abbott tweeted a public service announcement featuring baseball legend Nolan Ryan urging Texans to wash their hands and to not be "a knucklehead".
The governor was criticized for an aggressive reopening last month.
The health department in Florida said in a statement that it attributes the increase in cases to "greatly expanded efforts in testing", and noted that overall positivity rates remain low, at about 5.5 per cent.
Following the trend is Georgia, which was the first US state to reopen. COVId-19 cases there have plateaued.
California has been slower than most to reopen although it was the earliest state to shut down its economy over the coronavirus, after one of the nation's first outbreaks in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Despite this, the state has also seen the number of people hospitalized with Covid-19 rebound in the past two weeks, as commerce accelerates. Case counts are climbing too, although officials attribute that to increased testing and say it's a sign of preparation.
Rising numbers represent the virus spreading into places that largely avoided the first round of infections, including rural Imperial County in California's southeastern desert. Yet the contagion remains present in places that bore the brunt of the first wave, including Los Angeles County.
Interestingly, hospitalizations there are lower than at the start of May, but deaths remain stubbornly high, with 500 in the past week alone.
However, Dr Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County public health director, said the region has likely not seen the end of the first wave.
America has long been bracing for another wave, but future outbreaks are likely to take a different shape. Social distancing and mask-wearing, as well as careful behavior by individuals, are likely to have staying power even as economies reopen.
Medical experts are steeling for autumn, when changes in weather and back-to-school plans could have damaging repercussions.
Dr Lance Waller, a professor at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health in Atlanta said, "The second wave isn't going to mirror the first wave exactly. It's not snapping back to exactly the same thing as before, because we're not exactly the way we were before."
A fellow at the Infectious Diseases Society of America, Dr Daniel Lucey, compared the virus' new paradigm with a day at the beach, “America has been bracing for another ‘high tide’ like the one that engulfed New York City. Today is a low tide, but ‘the waves are always coming in’.”
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