Experts had envisioned localized ups and downs as the U.S. epidemic dragged on. But the new bursts of cases have not galvanized a commitment to rein in the spread and steer those rises into downturns. Instead, there is fading attention in Washington, and many Americans seem inured by the steady stream of 800 daily Covid-19 deaths and desperate to return to work and daily life (emphasis added).
Because Governors removed or eased lockdowns before the recommended 14 days of steadily declining daily case numbers, the US was “primed” for this resurgence.
But if initial lockdowns were meant to cut off as much transmission as possible and reduce it to manageable levels, they were also supposed to buy health authorities time to design strategies for the long haul, to come up with plans to keep a brake on spread so people could emerge back into life without an explosion of cases… Authorities had to communicate to the public that some measures — including masks, distancing, and avoiding crowds — had to be maintained for the duration.
Now, we’re seeing the fruits of those efforts — and the lack thereof.
The U.S. has not hired enough contact tracers to satisfy expert estimates of what’s needed. Mask wearing has become a political flashpoint, with many people simply refusing or not seeing the purpose…
In Arizona, local health departments raced during the state’s stay-at-home period to build up contact tracing fleets and prepare for more cases, said Kacey Ernst, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Arizona. But they didn’t have sufficient time to build the capacities that would prove to be necessary once the state reopened…
Now, the state is regularly reporting more than 1,000 new cases a day, compared to a few hundred in May. Hospitalizations are up. There isn’t enough contact tracing in place to try to get a hold of the outbreak, Ernst said.
These are political decisions
🌵Arizona reported a total of 40,924 cases on Wednesday. This is double the number of cases on 01 June (20,123). The daily reported cases: 1,827. Arizona has a 16.6% positivity rate (seven-day moving average).
⛱ Florida reported 2,610 new cases on Wednesday. The number of total cases increased to 82,719 from 56,830 on 01 June. Florida has a 7.4% positivity rate (seven-day moving average).
And then there’s Oklahoma
The top five daily COVID-19 reports in Oklahoma have occurred the past six days: 173, 225, 186, 228 and 259. The percent of those tested who are positive (positivity rate) has also increased. The seven-day moving average on Wednesday was 4.6%; at the first of the month, it was 1.2%.
So it’s not a big surprise that officials in Tulsa, OK, have asked the Trump presidential campaign to either move the Saturday campaign event outside (it’s slated for the Bank of Oklahoma Center, which holds 19,100) or to cancel it.
“It’s the perfect storm of potential over-the-top disease transmission,” said Bruce Dart, the executive director of the Tulsa health department. “It’s a perfect storm that we can’t afford to have.”
The White House presents a total disregard for the need for masks; it is not just the President who is out in public sans mask. And too many governors are following suit.
The Trump campaign presents a total disregard for the need to maintain physical distancing, both with the rally in Tulsa on Saturday and its desire for a traditional pomp-and-circumstance RNC in the summer.
Those political decisions play out across the country. On a Facebook post where I shared one of these newsletters, a lot of people (paid trolls?) have chimed in with a variety of misinformed posts. From “it’s no worse than the flu” to “those case numbers are made up”.
It will be a long summer.
As it has been a very long year so far.
Reprinted from COVID-19 Memo from a News Hound, Day 149