• The latest coronavirus update for the US heading into the Labor Day weekend is that the country has now reached a tipping point, with health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci warning that how well we practice the right coronavirus prevention behaviors now will determine the kind of fall and winter we have.
  • Accordingly, Fauci has also pointed to seven states that he’s particularly worried about right now since they’re showing signs of coronavirus surges potentially around the corner there.
  • The states are mostly in the Midwest, away from previous coronavirus hotspots like New York and Florida.

In scanning the details of the latest coronavirus update the US got on Friday, which now puts the total number of COVID-19 cases here at more than 6.2 million and with deaths having now topped 187,000, one of the things I think we’re only just now starting to come to terms with are the non-physical aspects of the virus. We’ve spent the last several months, in other words, seeing the destructive potential of the virus on the body. But a new study, released a few days ago at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual conference, suggests that the coronavirus pandemic is also going to cast a long shadow over our collective appetite for risk as well as the nation’s economic output possibly for decades. The study is titled “Scarring Body and Mind: The long-term belief-scarring effects of COVID-19,” and the authors note that: “While the virus will eventually pass, vaccines will be developed, and workers will return to work, an event of this magnitude could leave lasting effects on the nature of economic activity. Businesses will make future decisions with the risk of another pandemic in mind.”

Of course, we still can’t even fully wrap our arms around how deep of an impact the pandemic is making on the national psyche, because we’re still not anywhere close to being out of the danger zone regarding the virus itself.

We’ve noted previously that Labor Day is the next spot on the calendar that health experts are especially worried about. It has to do with the fact that the case numbers have traditionally gotten worse after a stretch when the coronavirus news has started to improve in the US, leading people to let their guard down a bit and start to be a little lax in things like wearing a face mask in public and not social-distancing to the degree that they need to. We’ve also seen this same thing happen around holidays because at that point people are traveling (potentially spreading the virus outside of their home and city) and coming into closer proximity with family and friends.

Both of those ingredients are coalescing right now thanks to the arrival of the Labor Day weekend, and in a new interview with Bloomberg, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci went one step farther and identified seven states where there’s a particular concern a coronavirus surge could be imminent. The states are:

  1. North Dakota
  2. South Dakota
  3. Iowa
  4. Arkansas
  5. Missouri
  6. Indiana
  7. Illinois

Explained Fauci, who also is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: “Those states are starting to see an increase in the percent positive of their testing. That is generally predictive that there’s going to be a problem.”

To cite one of these states as an example, Illinois is especially seeing an outbreak of the coronavirus right now on college campuses around the state. Those include Illinois State University, which has reported as of the time of this writing that 1,025 students have tested positive since the start of the semester two weeks ago (which is almost 5% of the student body). Meanwhile, The University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign campus saw more than 330 coronavirus cases over just two days.

“If we’re careless about it, then we could wind up with a surge following Labor Day,” Fauci said. “It really depends on how we behave as a country.”

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.