Recent reports from health departments in Texas, Arizona, Florida, and California may indicate the second of coronavirus infections has arrived, or the first wave never left. While experts state that reopenings cannot be directly linked to the dramatic spike of infections, there may be much to be said about state reopening without proper precautions in place. Florida has reported 8,553 new cases, the most of any seven days. California, a state which first enacted restrictions, is at its highest rate of hospitalizations since May 13th. Texas reported 2,504 new cases, the highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. The daily tally of new cases has spiked in the past two weeks, hitting an all-time high on June 2nd. The department of health in Arizona has urged the reactivation of emergency plans at hospitals within the state. Nonetheless, the cases spikes currently remain localized, and the nation’s overall case count rose just under 1% earlier this week. However, experts are finding that there is a new wave coming or already present in some states.
While the spikes in cases come after states reopened, there is not a definitive link between the reopening of states and increased infections. Moreover, it is too soon to state whether recent events such as protests have contributed to the rise in infections. Some states, such as Georgia, have not seen significant increases in infection rates. However, many states have adjusted test reporting standards, which may be contributing to a distorted picture of the actual infection rates. States, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Texas, have been mixing the results of current COVID-19 cases with results from antibody tests. The reporting makes it look like more people are being tested for active COVID-19, thus making it look like testing capacity has increased. However, antibody testing does not determine if a person has active COVID-19. More alarming is that in some states, the rising numbers of infections seem to outpace the increases in testing.
The US has been bracing for the next wave. How the next wave will take shape is uncertain. Experts predict that infection levels will rise in the fall. It is imperative to remain cautious while reopening and be prepared to increase social distancing measures when cases increase.