Published On: Tue, Jun 30th, 2020

US coronavirus: Many states hit pause on reopening but experts say spread of virus is hard to control


“What we hope is we can take it seriously and slow the transmission in these places,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the principal deputy director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “But what I think is very discouraging is we’re clearly not at a point where there’s so little virus being spread that it’s going to be easy to snuff out.”

The US has reported more than 2.5 million cases of the virus and at least 126,140 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. State and local leaders have said the rise in cases are in part driven by gatherings, both in homes and in places like bars — which some experts called the perfect breeding ground for the virus.

But experts have for long warned that some states also reopened far too soon and too quickly, cautioning the move could lead to more spikes in cases.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday the state will decide later this week on whether to slow the reopening of indoor dining in New York City as it has “been shown to pose risks in other states.”

Only two states see decline in new cases

The rethinking of how to safely reopen the US comes as new cases in at least 36 states are trending upwards compared to the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins.

States reporting an increase in new cases include: 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 state, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Twelve states are trekking steady in new cases: Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Virginia.

Two are reporting a decline in new cases: New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Next two weeks are critical, LA mayor says

In Los Angeles, the county health director said officials did “not expect to see this steep an increase this quickly.”

Since beginning to reopen several weeks ago, Los Angeles has seen an alarming rise in cases and hospitalizations, health director Barbara Ferrer said. There are now a total of more than 100,00 confirmed cases, with a record single-day high of 2,903 new cases reported Monday.

The next two weeks will be critical, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday.

“This period will be our second big test to see whether or not we can do the things, all the wisdom we have learned, to collectively apply that and to make sure we do our part to keep people living and to keep livelihoods,” he said.

With the current rate of increases, Los Angeles hospital beds will likely reach capacity within just a few weeks, said Dr. Christina Ghaly, Health Services Director.

“The number of hospital beds could become inadequate in the next few weeks,” Ghaly said. There are only enough ventilators in the county to last four weeks and Ghaly says the county’s projections show a marked increase in mortality rates.

In Southern California’s Riverside County, about 96% of all intensive care unit beds are in use, officials said Monday.

Over the weekend, the county reported their ICU bed capacity reached 99%, largely due to taking in overflow from neighboring Imperial County. There are 370 ICU beds now in use, down 3% from the weekend.

‘We barely survived the first shutdown’

Meanwhile, the climb in cases means many businesses across the country have been forced to shutdown a second time, which some owners say may prove devastating.

In Texas, after the governor ordered bars closed again last week, one owner in Houston told CNN he is filing for unemployment.

Texas and Florida bar owners closing their doors a second time fear crushing impacts

And after Florida suspended on-site alcohol consumption, one Jacksonville bar said they were worried about what closing their doors a second time will mean.

“We barely survived the first shutdown and once we were allowed to re-open in Phase 2, were very strict about following all CDC guidelines,” a spokesperson for the Volstead bar said.

In Arizona, where the governor announced perhaps one of the most sweeping rollbacks yet, many businesses were forced to shut down, this time for at least 30 days.
The order signed by the state’s governor prohibits large gatherings and pauses operations of bars, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals.

“Our expectation is that next week, our numbers will be worse,” Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday. “It will take several weeks for the mitigations we are putting in place to take effect.”

CNN’s Cheri Mossburg, Alexandra Meeks, Sarah Moon and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.



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