Afew weeks ago it seemed that the US had Coronavirus whipped. A lot has changed since then.
One of the changes is that Dr. Anthony Fauci of the Coronavirus Task Force has reemerged. Fauci testified before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Tuesday, telling lawmakers that the US was “going in the wrong direction” on the pandemic.
“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around and so I am very concerned,” Fauci said, reported by CNN.
Fauci blamed both the widespread protests and the fact that people were disregarding mitigation guidelines in areas that had reopened for the sharp increase in new cases.
“We’re going to continue to be in a lot of trouble, and there’s going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop,” Fauci said.
When asked if the pandemic was under control, Fauci answered, “I am not satisfied with what’s going on because we are going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases, so we’ve really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly.”
“Clearly we are not in total control right now,” he added.
Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, singled out young Americans, saying, “It is critical that we all take the personal responsibility to slow the transmission of Covid-19 and embrace the universal use of face coverings. Specifically, I’m addressing the younger members of our society, the Millennials and the Generation Zs — I ask those that are listening to spread the word.”
“We recommend masks for everyone on the outside, anyone who comes into contact in a crowded area,” Redfield said. “You should avoid crowds where possible and when you’re outside and not have the capability of maintaining distance, you should wear a mask at all times.”
The resurgent outbreak is a trend for much of the nation. CNN reports that 36 states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming) have reported increases of at least 10 percent over the past week. Only two states, New Jersey and Rhode Island, have reported an average daily decline of more than 10 percent.
The increase is not merely due to increased testing. Many of the hot spots are reporting an increased positivity rate for testing as well as increased hospitalizations. In Texas, one of the factors in delaying reopening was the fact that the state was nearing maximum capacity for its ICU beds.
The serious nature of the situation is underscored by the reversal of reopening policies in several Republican states. Arizona, Florida, and Texas are among at least 18 states and cities where reopening has been paused. States with Democratic governors such as North Carolina and California are also experiencing surges in new cases that have led to the decision to suspend reopening plans.
On Monday, Georgia’s Brian Kemp became the latest governor to reverse his reopening plans and extend the Peach State’s state of emergency. The two executive orders extend the testing and health procurement rules, which were set to expire on June 30, through August 11 and extend social distancing guidelines through at least July 15.
In a split from President Trump, Vice President Pence appeared in a mask over the weekend and urged Americans to follow suit, saying, “Wearing a mask is just a good idea and we know, from experience, will slow the spread of the Coronavirus.” The president has yet to wear a mask in public or advocate that his supporters do so.
The pandemic’s effect on the economy is becoming an election issue. A new Gallup poll this week found that President Trump’s rating on the economy had fallen by 16 points since January. While the president is not responsible for the onset of the pandemic, he is responsible for the Administration’s reaction to it. President Trump has long been a major proponent of quickly reopening the country.
Even before the recent uptick in cases, the US had the highest acknowledged number of Coronavirus cases and deaths in the world. On a per capita basis, the US ranked ninth in terms of deaths and and 12th in cases per Worldmeters.
It is no longer clear whether Americans have the will to continue the inconveniences of social distancing and wearing masks. Given the broad spread of the virus, it may be too late to contain the outbreak even if we redouble our efforts. The United States may be about to experience the worst of both worlds with an economic recession paired with an out-of-control plague.
Originally published on The Resurgent