Re-Closings Follow Re-Openings as COVID-19 Cases Surge

Many healthcare officials saw it coming. They predicted that reopening the country would result in a surge of new COVID-19 cases.

And that's exactly what we've seen. Especially in states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas. So much for hot weather killing the virus.

By the time you read this, there will be more than 3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. That's about 25 percent of the world's cases. Despite having less than 5 percent of the world's population.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the actual number of cases might be 10 times higher in some areas.

But what's the alternative to reopening? The economy took a big hit with closures. And unemployment numbers skyrocketed. Getting back to business is the only way to keep companies afloat and Americans employed.

Arizona Opens 'Way Too Early'

The happy medium – if there is such a thing during a pandemic – is reopening slowly and carefully.

Here's what Harris County, Texas government head Lina Hidalgo said. "If we had stayed shut down for longer and opened more slowly, we would probably be in a more sustainable place in our economy."

Phoenix, Arizona Mayor Kate Gallego said her state opened "way too early." Miami, Florida Mayor Francis Suarez said this. "There's no doubt that when we reopened, people started socializing as if the virus didn't exist."

But even some states that tried opening slowly are now backtracking. A surge of new cases has convinced them to cut back on business hours or services.

32 States See Infections Rise

In 32 states, infection rates were higher last week than the previous week. Including Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. Plus Ohio, Washington and Wisconsin. Some states are breaking new case records almost daily.

Only four states have seen recent decreases in cases. They are Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. And a White House coronavirus task force member.

He was asked recently what a second wave of the coronavirus might look like. He responded that the better question is how are we going to deal with this first wave.

Health Officials Urge Compliance

"We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this," Fauci said. "I would say, this (COVID-19 resurgence) would not be considered a wave.

"It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline... that really never got down to where we wanted to go."

He added that public health efforts and economic openings are not "opposing forces." He said, "We should use the public health effort as a vehicle and a pathway to get to safe reopening."

Fauci and other health officials have urged the public to maintain social distancing. And exercise other safety precautions.

'We Are in Free Fall'

But crowded beaches over the July Fourth weekend is an indication many people are not taking those warnings seriously.

The recent surge is leading to a shortage of hospital beds in a number of states.

Austin, Texas Mayor Steve Adler said the city's hospitals could be overrun before the end of July if the trajectory doesn't change. Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said his city was facing shortages of hospital staff. And ICU beds.

Dr. Rochelle Walensky is chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. She said, "We are in free fall. People are either naïve to the influence of their actions or they're simply resigned to ignore it."

Do the Right Things

Most healthcare officials say America can get through this. But only if Americans do the right things.

That includes wearing facemasks in public and practicing social distancing. As well as avoiding crowded indoor spaces. And engaging in frequent hand washing.

"We just need all of the people in America to... do the right thing." So says Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health.

"All of those simple and straightforward things that I know you're tired of. But the virus is still out there… All of us (need) to keep this from getting any worse."

Test Results Taking Longer

Another negative effect of the resurgence is the testing turnaround time.

Previously, one could expect a COVID-19 test result in two to four days.

With more people now being tested, it's often a week or more. Those additional days "in limbo" give people more time to infect others.

People should quarantine themselves between exposure and a negative test result. Especially because the percentage of positive tests is rising.

But in most cases, that's not happening. Many people assume their test result will be negative. So they go about their business.

Schools Will Look Different

A problem we'll hear more about in the coming weeks is schools reopening. An emergency order in Florida requires all brick and mortar schools to reopen full time in August.

The order followed a tweet from President Donald Trump saying, "Schools must open in the fall!"

Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran said this. "There is a need to open schools fully to ensure the quality and continuity of the educational process."

The CDC recommends staggered scheduling at schools. Plus modified seating layouts and the closing of common spaces.

I want to ask everyone reading this to please do whatever you can to stay safe. We'll get through this, but it's going to take a lot of effort.

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Nancy Tokarz - July 31, 2020

I disagree about beach goers and church parishioners causing an increase in cases. I work on the front lines and see there is massive testing of asymptomatic people. The tests being used have not at all been proven to be accurate. I’m tired of we need to reopen “safely “. What does that even mean? That you have no chance to catch a virus? Young healthy people are really at minimal risk. They need to be out and about. The virus will weaken on its own as it works its way through the population. The sooner the better. Hiding and masking is not the answer. Covid is being used to control and brainwash the public by using the threat of sickness and death. This will be used to permanently take away our constitutional rights and change our way of life. Right now people are being deprived of visiting there elderly parents and dying (non-covid) relatives. You can’t even have a normal funeral. This is a crime!! The government has no right to declare what businesses are nonessential. If Walmart and Home Depot can be open, so can small businesses. If you check out the world economic forum website and read about the Great Reset that they are planning, you will see that it is world Marxism. Wake up.

Jim Harris - July 31, 2020

Jeff, I’ve enjoyed your messages in the past but if you don’t stop spewing these lies from the news media I’m going to have to unsubscribe. There is too much proof of these being overinflated numbers to ignore. Please give solutions, be positive and stop promoting the lies. Thank you for the work you do. God bless.

Clifford Johnson - July 31, 2020

Could anyone share some light on the “mask wearing” thing? Is there any evidence (other than someones WORD) that wearing a mask will protect the wearer or anyone around them? I have read PARTISAN comments comments on both sides of the issue but no definitive STUDY (other than someones “opinion” based on their ideology). Even Doctors are not immune to voicing their opinion to try and support their political opinion.—-on both sides of the issue.

Peter Leonhardt - July 31, 2020

Lots of new cases are asystematic. Why are they not testing those people to find out why. If vitamin d will help stop the virus why doesn’t the government push people to take vitamin d instead of wearing masks?

Peter Leonhardt - July 31, 2020

Lots of new cases are asystematic. Why are they not testing those people to find out why. If vitamin d will help stop the virus why doesn’t the government push people to take vitamin d instead of wearing masks?

Jerry Young - July 31, 2020

Someone needs to pay for spreading this coronavirus. Whether it’s the Chinese Communist Party, the deep state, or the Democrats someone needs to pay a heavy price maybe even death if it was done intentionally.

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