New COVID-19 cases in the US have tripled in the last month from 20,000 to 60,000 and rising as outbreaks in Florida, Arizona, Texas and South Carolina are raging uncontrolled. We're rapidly headed for the sort-case scenario, where illness becomes so widespread that the sheer number of casualties begins to affect the daily functioning of the country as a whole.
With rising Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations sending many states backward in their reopening plans, one health expert warns that if the US continues on its current path it will reach "one of the most unstable times in the history of our country."
"We will have hospitals overwhelmed and not only in terms of ICU beds and hospitals -- and that's bad -- but exhausted hospital staff and hospital staff that's getting ill themselves," Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told CNN Friday night. "So, we won't have enough manpower, human power, to manage all of this."
Only five states saw a decrease of at least 10% in average new daily cases over the past week. And the US set a record for the highest single day of new cases for the second time this week with 66,627 cases on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The problem remains Republicans.
The resurgence has many local leaders returning to actions taken in March and April to slow the spread of the virus.
At least 26 states have paused or rolled back their plans to reopen.
Atlanta's mayor and Georgia's governor are at odds over the mayor's order Friday to send her city back to Phase 1 of its reopening plan. Citing an "alarming" increase in cases, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said residents under this phase should leave the house only for essential trips, and restaurants and retailers must offer only to-go or curbside pickup service.
Gov. Brian Kemp's office said the mayor's plan is not "legally enforceable" because Kemp signed an order prohibiting local action from being more prohibitive than the state's requirements. To free the capacity for more testing and hospital care in a surge, Kemp reactivated a makeshift hospital Friday at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta.
In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott renewed a disaster declaration first issued March 13 to mitigate spread in his state, while Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer requested the extension of National Guard use through December for humanitarian missions such as running mobile screenings, distributing food and medical supplies and disinfecting public spaces.
"All people who study these viruses think that the summer is the quiet time. Think about that. This is the quiet time for coronavirus," Dr. William Haseltine, a former professor at Harvard Medical School, told CNN on Friday. "If this is the quiet time, I hate to think what winter is going to be like this year."
Even here in Kentucky.
The top two leaders of Kentucky’s General Assembly and Attorney General Daniel Cameron are criticizing Gov. Andy Beshear for mandating the wearing of masks to curb COVID-19 without consulting them, and Cameron on Friday asked a state judge if the order is legally proper.
“As usual, you have put forth this order by edict rather than through collaboration,” said Senate President Robert Stivers, House Speaker David Osborne and Cameron —all Republicans — in a two-page letter sent to Beshear, a Democrat, Thursday night.
They noted in their letter to the governor that earlier Thursday a judge in Scott County “issued a statewide temporary restraining order against your executive orders and guidance.“
They were referring to an order by Scott Circuit Judge Brian Privett in response to a lawsuit filed by Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles, a Republican, and Evans Orchard and Cider Mill in Georgetown, challenging Beshear’s restrictions on certain businesses. Cameron joined the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.
Besides issuing a restraining order on Beshear’s restrictions for 548 agritourism businesses registered with the state Department of Agriculture, the judge said before Beshear could issue or enforce any executive order related to the COVID-19 emergency that he declared March 6, “the governor or other person authorized by the governor shall specifically state the emergency that requires the order, the location of the emergency, and the name of the local emergency management agency that has determined that the emergency is beyond its capabilities.”
The mask effect that was supposed to go into effect Friday afternoon is now in legal limbo and could be for a long time. Meanwhile, several county sheriffs say they will not enforce Beshear's mask ordnance anyway.
So the pandemic will continue, and people will continue to suffer life-long organ damage or die until enough people get the point and wear masks when they go outside.