Over 2 million Covid-19 cases and 112,924 deaths so far: US statistics are driving the Johns Hopkins University gauges wild which measure the progress of the pandemic based on data reported by each state. These figures could well continue to rise as the number of cases continues to increase in 21 states.
The US seems to be trapped in the middle of this health crisis. According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, 21 states – including Puerto Rico – have seen an increase in infection numbers since the end of May, with 14 of them reporting their worst average weekly infection. Texas – the second most populous state in the country with nearly 29 million inhabitants – has never seen so many people hospitalized by Covid-19, while at the same time the country is experiencing a general relaxation of social distancing measures, reports The Guardian. The most striking example is the reopening of casinos in Las Vegas, Nevada, in early June, although the number of new cases uncovered almost doubled between 2 and 6 June, reaching an average of 184 new cases on 8 June.
This is a worrying situation, as the number of people infected and deaths remain high: 20,000 new cases per day and currently an average of 1,000 deaths. These are exceptional figures. There are 2 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the United States, almost a third of the officially reported cases worldwide. The same is true for deaths, where the 112,924 cumulative deaths in the United States on June 11 officially represent more than a quarter of the officially recognized deaths worldwide.
There are even more cases in California
While the pandemic is decreasing in most east coast states, the contamination curve is increasing in the south and west. After an average of 10,824 new cases of contamination per day on 9 April, the situation seems to be coming under control in New York State, the fourth most populous state in the country with 19.4 million inhabitants. The Big Apple state is now experiencing an average of 1,000 new cases per day, less than one-tenth of the peak level.
40% more in Los Angeles and San Francisco
Despite this good news, 21 other states show an upward trend in the number of contaminations, mainly in the South (South Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana…) and on the West Coast (California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon…). The most worrying aspect is that the three most populous states are also seeing an increase in their pollution curve. In California – the first most populous state with 39.5 million inhabitants – the average pollution curve has been rising steadily since mid-March, reaching a peak of 3,082 new cases per day on 5 June. The state saw a 40% increase in new infections last week, reports the Guardian, particularly in major cities such as Los Angeles – the worst-hit city – and San Francisco. The same scenario applies to Texas – the second most populous state with almost 29 million inhabitants – where the trend has been upward since mid-March despite two periods of decline. But although the number of cases detected doubled between 28 May and 5 June, reaching a peak of 1,864 new cases, the trend seems to have been declining over the last three days. As for Florida – the third most populous state with a population of 21 million – after the first wave in April, a second wave is emerging in early June, reaching an average of 1,347 new cases on 4 June.
But the reopening continues
The other reason for the continued increase in infections appears to be the mixing of the populations during the long Memorial Day weekend at the end of May. “We are very concerned that our prevention messages do not seem to be getting through,” said Robert Redfield, head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at a conference last week. We continue to look for ways to bring them to the attention of the various groups.
There is nothing worse than someone who is deaf and doesn’t want to hear. Many cities and states – especially where the pandemic has been progressing for weeks – are lifting social restrictions. The Guardian reports that Florida has begun its second phase of reopening by allowing bars and cinemas to open their doors to the public despite the current second wave.
Demonstrations against racism: a new time bomb
However, it was not so much the spread of the virus that caught the attention of American citizens, but the death of George Floyd. The death of George Floyd has heightened racial tensions within American society which provoked numerous and important demonstrations throughout the country, which may lead to more spreading of the disease.
“Will the protests result in an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases? Yes, will it be an anecdote, a setback, or a sharp increase? We don’t know,” tweeted the emergency director of New York Presbyterian Hospital, Craig Spencer, for 20 minutes. The coronavirus was found in several National Guard reservists who are sometimes used to monitor demonstrations. Their numbers remain uncertain, as does the silent spread of Covid-19.