Coronavirus cases surge in 21 US states after reopening as 12 grapple with increasing hospitalizations
The spike prompted Arizona, which has seen a 115% increase since its reopening, to ask its hospitals to activate the coronavirus emergency plans
As the US bounced back to life from stay-at-home orders, so did the new coronavirus. About 21 US states are recording a rise in new Covid-19 cases. This comes as health experts warned that premature reopening of states could lead to a surge in cases.
The spike prompted Arizona, which has seen a 115% increase since its reopening, to ask its hospitals to activate coronavirus emergency plans. Other new Covid-19 hotspots include Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Washington, South Carolina, Missouri, Utah, Kentucky, Arkansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Oregon, Vermont, Hawaii, Alaska and Montana, according to The New York Times. Part of the rise could be due to more testing, reports suggested.
World Health Organization urged countries not to stay complacent, adding that the crisis is far from over. "More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on June 8. What is more, the president is now taking part in significantly fewer meetings with the coronavirus task force, senior administration officials, told The New York Times. "We may have some embers or some ashes, or we may have some flames coming, but we’ll put them out. We’ll stomp them out," he said recently. According to Johns Hopkins University, the number of cases in the US is inching closer to 2M.
What's happening in Arizona?
The number of Covid-19 patients on ventilator support has been on the rise. According to Banner Health, a medical network in Arizona, it has quadrupled since May 15. "We have seen a steady climb of Covid-19 cases in Arizona over the last two weeks. This trend is concerning to us, and also correlates with a rise in cases that we are seeing in our hospital ICUs," they wrote in a tweet.
CNN reported that 76% of ICU beds were already in use as of June 8. Arizona's Director of Health Services Dr Cara Christ has asked hospitals to activate coronavirus emergency plans. It will prepare them for an influx of patients needing hospitalization. It will also try to reduce or suspend elective surgeries to ensure adequate bed capacity for both Covid and non-Covid admissions. "We know Covid-19 is still in our community, and we expect to see increased cases," the Arizona Department of Health Services tweeted recently. The former state health chief Will Humble reportedly blamed the state's casual exit from stay-at-home orders for the sudden surge in Covid-19 cases. Dr William Hanage, an epidemiology professor at Harvard University's TH Chan School of Public Health, called the situation alarming. He told AZ Central that the only sort of comfort he can find is that it is easier to follow social distancing in Arizona than in some places.
Rising hospitalization rates in other states
The number of Covid-19 hospitalizations has shot up in at least a dozen states: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah, according to CNN. Besides, many experts are worried that the US could see more Covid-19 cases due to protests over George Floyd's killing. They are urging people to get themselves tested as experts will not be able to carry out contact tracing. "You could have an exposure and it will not come through a contact tracing system. Nobody knows that you were there, nobody has your name," Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said during a press conference on June 7.