As states rush to reopen after pandemic-triggered lockdowns, public health experts say new surges could soon warrant a second set of stay-at-home orders.
Of course, it remains far from clear that some of these same states’ governors—who were often slow to lock down in the first place—will be willing to do it. The political pressure to restart economies and release people from isolation has been fierce. But failing to act again, however painful, could see the same states overwhelmed by COVID-19 cases.
Entire countries have already been forced to lock down a second time, like Lebanon announced it would on Wednesday, after case numbers jumped from 750 on May 5 to 870 on Tuesday. Meanwhile, more than four in five Americans have said they are concerned or afraid of a potential second wave of cases, according to a CNN-SSRS poll.
According to documents obtained by NBC News from a May 7 White House coronavirus task force report, infection rates in several states had spiked by 72.4 percent or more in a single week. That information clashed with claims by President Trump on Monday that “all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly.”
But among the areas with the largest reported spikes were Amarillo, Texas, and Central City, Kentucky, the latter of which recorded a whopping 650 percent increase in confirmed cases compared to the previous week. The documents were created by the data and analytics unit of the task force, according to NBC.
These numbers, if accurate, paint a striking picture of the novel coronavirus pandemic spreading quickly, and not just in early hot spots or major coastal centers. Instead, they point to emerging epidemiological trouble in locales where governors were quick to follow President Trump’s advice to relax stay-at-home restrictions.
Christopher Johnson, professor and chair for the Department of Health Management and Systems Sciences at the University of Louisville, said preliminary modeling done by his group for Jefferson County, Kentucky found that if the post-lockdown contact rate between citizens more than doubles from what it was during restrictions, “a second surge will be inevitable, even if we perfectly identify and isolate those with the virus.”
Source: Daily Beast