- Coronavirus US cases are on the rise again — surging in some states to the point that at least one expert thinks they might need to return to lockdown measures since current containment strategies aren’t proving sufficient.
- Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb pointed to three states as particularly worrisome: Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
- This comes as the overall number of cases and deaths in the US from coronavirus is continuing a steady rise.
The US finds itself in an ominous new stage of the coronavirus pandemic, with cases of infection surging in several states — and with the overall rate even bad enough that the EU is reportedly weighing a travel ban from the US so that they don’t import our cases there.
In fact, the picture looks concerning enough in three US states (Arizona, Florida, and Texas) that one health expert worries they may have no choice but to reinstitute lockdowns, as containment measures may not end up being sufficient anymore.
The expert is Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug Commissioner, who told CNBC earlier this week that these states are dealing with record-high numbers of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations. And, thus, that these states have “major outbreaks underway. There’s no question about it.”
Continued Gottlieb: “They might be past the point that they can control this just with simple interventions like trying to get more people to wear masks and people being mindful of their social interactions.” This week is a critical one for the three states, he argued, in the sense that it will give us an idea of whether these states are “tipping over” into exponential growth or not.
Week over week, testing is up in states experiencing the largest epidemic spread of Covid; but new Covid cases are up to a greater degree. The exception is Florida, where Covid cases are up, but testing has declined week-over-week based on reported data. pic.twitter.com/DmUfVS4VGl
— Scott Gottlieb, MD (@ScottGottliebMD) June 25, 2020
Gottlieb’s concern comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the US is approaching 2.4 million, according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University. Those figures also show that the total number of reported deaths in the US is just shy of 122,000 at the time of this writing.
Do you remember how you felt reading the news a little over a month ago, when all the horrible headlines out of Italy had us feeling relatively lucky and that the worst of this crisis was elsewhere? As Politico noted on Monday, the US is the new Italy — in a metaphorical sense, that is. The world not so long ago was aghast at how dire the situation was in Italy, and at all the extreme measures being taken there like strict lockdowns and equipment rationing by hospitals. But it’s also a little incorrect to call the US the new Italy, because the situation here is actually an order of magnitude worse than what Italy faced.
Take a look again at those numbers of cases and deaths in the US. They now far surpass the 200,000 infections and 29,000 deaths from coronavirus in Italy by May 1.
The situation sounds particularly dire in Texas. Gottlieb tweeted on Wednesday an update on the utilization of general medical beds and ICU beds from Houston’s Texas Medical Center. According to Gottlieb, they’re projecting that they’ll start accessing their surge capacity this week — “and if current Covid trends continue, exceed that capacity in about two weeks.”