As New York cases drop, Nebraska and Minnesota among states emerging as new coronavirus hotspots
The virus appears to be weakening its grip in New York, providing a ray of hope to the country. But the outbreak is far from over in the US.
Other states are now emerging as hotspots, nullifying the encouraging signs from New York. Infections are steadily rising in Nebraska, Minnesota, Puerto Rico and other states, according to an analysis that looked at cases recorded in the last seven days across the country.
In late March, New York became the epicenter of the US outbreak. However, the state is now showing a decrease in hospitalizations and deaths.
"You look at what's happening in New York. Yes, our line is going down. Our number of cases is going down. We have turned the corner, and we're on the decline. You take New York out of the national numbers, the numbers for the rest of the nation are going up," New York governor Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference.
Other experts agreed. "If you include New York, it looks like a plateau moving down," Andrew Noymer, an associate professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, told The New York Times. "If you exclude New York, it’s a plateau slowly moving up," he added.
Making matters worse are states easing restrictions without meeting the criteria set by the President. It recommends reopening if they record a 14-day decline in new cases.
Easing restrictions could have a bearing on death rates too. So far, more than 73,000 people have died due to the infection. As more states reopen, experts predict the US could witness as many as 134,000 by early August.
According to the Axios analysis, the signs are worsening in states such as Texas and Virginia, which are reopening. It adds that more than a third of the nation still has a growing number of cases. The last few weeks saw several protests erupting across the country.
More Americans are stepping out now, which could fuel the spread of the virus.
The worst faring regions are Puerto Rico, Minnesota and Nebraska, with an increase of 231%, 155%, and 57%, respectively. While two states — Arkansas and Wyoming — are showing a decrease of 61% and 63% in new cases, New York is showing a 38% drop.
Commenting on the situation, Trevor Bedford, a scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center said he did not understand why people expect a decline in cases over the next month.
"There may well be cities/counties that achieve suppression locally, but nationally I expect things to be messy with flare-ups in various geographies followed by responses to these flare-ups," he tweeted.
New York could see a decline because it adopted measures backed by science. "To me, that vindicates what we’re doing here in New York, which says follow the science, follow the data, put the politics aside and the emotion aside. What we're doing here shows results. The hospitalization rate is down, the number of deaths is down, and the number of new cases is down," Cuomo said.