The U.S. surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases on Wednesday, prompting fears of a possible “second wave” of infections as businesses reopen throughout the country and thousands of protesters flock to the street.
Some states are facing a looming strain on ICU capacity as coronavirus hospitalizations rise. As of Wednesday, California had its highest number of active hospitalizations since May 13, while Arizona hospitals have been told to activate “emergency plans” since close to 80 percent of ICU beds in the state were occupied as of Monday.
At the same time, Texas reported 2,504 new cases on Wednesday, the highest one-day increase in the state since the onset of the pandemic. Over the past week, Florida has seen 8,553 new cases, the most during any week of the pandemic.
Cases continue to rise in Arizona and Texas, two states that are grappling with outbreaks. With increased testing resources in both states and better tracing, they have an opportunity to isolate the sources of spread, adapt their public health practices, and control the outbreaks pic.twitter.com/epV9Nt8OSd
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) June 10, 2020
“There is a new wave coming in parts of the country,” Eric Toner, a scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told Bloomberg. “It’s small and it’s distant so far, but it’s coming.”
It is unclear if the recent rise is connected to states’ reopening businesses, or to the massive demonstrations seen across the country in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed during his arrest by Minneapolis police officers. Georgia has not seen an alarming recent increase in cases despite allowing most businesses to remain open for over a month.
Governors are reluctant to reimpose lockdowns after much of the U.S. effectively shut down at the onset of the pandemic.
“We want to avoid going backwards if we possibly can,” North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said, as hospitalizations and new infections rose to their highest levels since the pandemic began.