Health officials nervously eye emerging hotspots

Public health officials are nervously eyeing cities that may become the next epicenters of the coronavirus pandemic as new models point to increased rates of transmission.

The fact that restless Americans are now emerging from lockdowns to resume something approximating normal life is only exacerbating those concerns.

While the number of new coronavirus cases is declining in New York, Seattle and other focal points of the first wave of cases, models are predicting that cases could skyrocket in the next two weeks in cities like Houston, Dallas, Nashville, Tenn., and Memphis, Tenn., creating new epicenters.

Modelers are also watching suburban areas like Fairfax County in Virginia, and areas around Minneapolis, Phoenix and Omaha, Neb.

“We think there’s a storm out there, there’s the potential for a storm. We’re not sure if it’s going to land on shore,” said David Rubin, director of the PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, whose models show the impending surges. “The next two to three weeks are going to be really important.”

Epidemiologists were alarmed over the Memorial Day weekend when big crowds showed up to stroll the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md., and when viral videos showed raucous pool parties at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri. The social distancing habits that have had a measurable impact curbing the spread of the virus seemed to have been abandoned by tourists and partiers ready to let their guard down after two months of enforced lockdowns.

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Source: The Hill