Memorial Day reopenings and the end of social distancing over the last two weeks has led to, surprise, a major spike in new COVID-19 cases in over a dozen states including here in Kentucky.
As rates of coronavirus infections ease in places such as New York and Illinois and onetime hot spots move into new phases of reopening, parts of the country that had previously avoided being hit hard by the outbreak are now tallying record-high new infections.
Since the start of June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data tracked by The Washington Post: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
If the pandemic’s first wave burned through dense metro hubs such as New York City, Chicago and Detroit, the highest percentages of new cases are coming from places with much smaller populations: Lincoln County, Ore., an area of less than 50,000, has averaged 20 new daily cases; the Bear River Health District in northern Utah has averaged 78 new cases a day in the past week, most of them tied to an outbreak at a meat processing plant in the small town of Hyrum.
The increase of coronavirus cases in counties with fewer than 60,000 people is part of the trend of new infections surging across the rural United States. Health experts worry those areas, already short of resources before the pandemic, will struggle to track new cases with the infrastructure that remains.
Adding to the disparity in health-care support, residents in states such as Mississippi, Florida and South Carolina are living under only minor-to-moderate restrictions — even as their average daily infection rate is rising.
The past two weeks of protests against police brutality will be yet another variable in how the virus spreads in the country. Protesters flooded the streets of major cities but gathered in small towns across the country, too. Though the widespread protests are a boon for the movement, health officials have warned about the impact so many people closely packed with one another could have on transmission rates.
As of Monday, at least 109,000 people in the United States have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, with more than 1.95 million cases of the virus reported.
In other words, we're almost guaranteed a massive rise in COVID-19 cases by the end of the month, and in rural areas without the infrastructure to contain the spread or to handle a lot of ICU patients at once, especially in states like Texas.
Texas reported a record number of coronavirus hospitalizations Monday — weeks after Gov. Greg Abbott took the lead among governors in easing social distancing measures to help bring jobs back.
There are currently 1,935 Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the state, topping the previous hospitalization record of 1,888 patients on May 5, according to new data from the Texas Department of State Health Services.
Texas was among the first states to relax its statewide stay-at-home order, allowing it to expire April 30 and some businesses to resume operations May 1.
The coronavirus has infected more than 75,400 people in Texas, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The positivity rate for Covid-19 tests in Texas reached a low of 4.27% toward the end of May but has since jumped to 7.55%, according to the state’s health department.
While hospitalizations are increasing, there are more than 1,600 open intensive-care beds and more than 5,800 ventilators available for critically ill patients.
Some infectious disease experts say hospitalization numbers could be a better way to track a state’s reopening performance since it’s more difficult to skew than testing data, which fluctuates depending on how many tests are being run.
Houston, Dallas/Fort Worth, and San Antonio represent most of that capacity. Rural Texas, not so much.
110,000 dead and rising daily, COVID-19 hasn't gone away just because the news has focused on police brutality and Black Lives Matter protests worldwide.
Be careful out there, folks.