(Natural News) Weeks after reopening, several states are now seeing record numbers of Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) cases. This has caused experts to warn that a second wave of the pandemic is imminent.
“There is a new wave coming in parts of the country,” stated Eric Toner, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “It’s small and it’s distant so far, but it’s coming.”
Texas reported 2,504 new coronavirus cases Wednesday, the state’s highest one-day total since the start of the pandemic.
Florida saw 8,553 new cases this week — the most of any seven-day period — just a month into its reopening.
Arizona recorded 1,187 new cases on June 2, an all-time high for the state.
Meanwhile, California saw hospitalizations due to the coronavirus rise in nine of the past 10 days, bringing the number to its highest since May 13.
Coronavirus cases surge in some states
Since the coronavirus arrived in U.S. shores early this year, more than 2 million people have been infected and over 112,000 have died.
After restrictions that stalled the spread of the virus, an increase in cases was expected as states reopened. This trend has been observed across 22 states in recent weeks. Though some states have only seen a slow and steady increase, others are seeing record-setting spikes in new cases.
In Arizona, the state’s Department of Health Services (DHS) urged hospitals to activate contingency plans in light of its surge. Talking to a Phoenix television station, DHS director Cara Christ stated that she was concerned about the rising number of cases and the high percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus.
Valleywise Health has reported an increase in COVID-19 cases during the past two weeks. The Phoenix-based public hospital system had already expanded its intensive-care capacity and those beds are 87 percent full, with about half of them occupied by COVID-19 patients, according to Valleywise chief medical officer Micheal White.
In Texas, health officials reported a 4.7 percent jump in hospitalizations to 2,153 — the fourth consecutive daily increase in the state. Prior to the state’s reopening, the highest number of hospitalizations it had seen was 1,888 patients back on May 5. (Related: Texas sees record coronavirus hospitalizations after early reopening.)
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s PolicyLab reports that mobile phone data from Texas shows that activity by residents is returning to pre-pandemic levels. According to the University of Pennsylvania’s director of biostatistics, Jeffrey Morris, this could reflect a perception that the virus wasn’t ever “a big threat.”
Texas health officials, however, have attributed the surge in cases in the state to increased testing.
Florida has done the same, with its health department also saying that their uptick is due to “greatly expanding efforts in testing.” In addition, it noted that the state’s overall positivity rate remained low, at about 5.5 percent.
Not every state that has reopened has seen a surge, baffling experts
Scientists, however, are still baffled by why certain states have experienced a second wave while others have not. As such, they’re still not sure if the surge is linked to increased economic activity.
States that have seen rapid increases in caseload, such as Arizona, stick out “like a sore thumb in terms of a major problem,” says Morris.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, where hair salons, tattoo parlors and gyms have been operating for a month and a half, case numbers have steadily dropped.
“They’ve kind of held this fragile equilibrium,” stated David Rubin, director of the PolicyLab.
Differences have also been observed within states. Well over half the new cases reported in California this week came from Los Angeles County. However, up north in San Francisco, no new cases have been reported for three days straight.
The high number of cases in the county has prompted Barbara Ferrer, Los Angeles County public health director, to comment that the region may not have even seen the end of the first wave. In addition, despite concerns about infections coming out of mass demonstrations in the city, she believes that reopening the economy will have a much bigger impact.
In a recent podcast, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said that the White House Coronavirus Task Force has yet to see any relationship between the reopened states and the increased cases of COVID-19.
Whether or not the reopenings will lead to the second wave, and whether it can be controlled, will take about a couple of weeks for experts to know, according to Toner. However, by then, “it’s going to be pretty late” to respond.
Visit Pandemic.news to learn more about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.