Coronavirus Infections Spike Around the Country, Warnings Ignored

Yesterday, over 36,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by state health officials. As the Washington Post explained, the number of cases has surpassed the previous single-day record of 34,203 set on April 25.

Increased community spread in states like Florida and Texas–whose governors were eager to reopen–show that warnings from public health officials who were wary about relaxing social distancing guidelines were largely ignored. And despite the claims of Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis and President Trump, increased testing isn’t the reason why cases are surging.

Why This Matters: While this is being described as a “second wave” of the virus, for that to be true the first wave would have had to subside and it never did. As NBC News explained, instead, the U.S. appears to be going through a constant chain of smaller spikes.

Overall, we’ve done a poor job of social distancing and our leadership has been ineffective at drastically driving down rates of infection. So much so that the EU may bar American travelers as it reopens its borders due to our poor handling of the pandemic. 

But even though Americans are upset with the current state of things (evidenced by #DeSantisFailedFlorida and #WearADamnMas trending on Twitter) a sizeable amount of them still refuse to wear masks on the basis of political ideology. Additionally, Americans 20-40 years old are driving the spread of the virus, mainly by socializing outside the home and failing to adhere to proper social distancing measures.

No Reward For Doing Right: The state of Hawaii has implemented a strict 14 day quarantine period for all visitors to the islands. Its police and citizen task forces have also worked hard to keep people off beaches and ensure that quarantine protocols are adhered to. As a result, Nevada and California residents who own property in Hawaii are suing the state over the legality of the quarantine order, the Department of Justice is now supporting this lawsuit.

Now, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut will require travelers from states with high rates of coronavirus to quarantine for 2 weeks. The fate of the lawsuit against Hawaii could determine if more states will do the same.

The Status of Tests: The nation’s leading coronavirus response official, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has expressed that the United States still needs far more testing for COVID. Many states are also still struggling with how to expand testing capacity. That’s why it was shocking news yesterday when the Trump administration announced it will end its support for 13 coronavirus testing sites across the country at the end of the month, including seven in Texas, as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in a number of areas nationwide, The Hill reported.

It Gets Worse: As NBC News reported in a separate article, a massive plume of dust from the Sahara Desert is drifting across the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to blanket parts of the southeastern United States this week.

  • The enormous dust cloud — which some experts say could be the biggest and most intense Saharan plume in 50 years — could aggravate health problems, including asthma and other respiratory illnesses, and make visibility difficult on the ground.

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