In the past 10 days, new daily COVID-19 case counts both nationally and in individual states have continued to climb, setting new records and leading at least one expert to suggest the activity now places America in its second wave of virus activity.
“We’re going to hit 60,000 cases this week for certain. So we’re back to 700,000 infections a day,” said Scott Gottlieb, MD, former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, on CNBC’s Squawk Box today, meaning that, because of low rates of testing in the United States, he estimates that only about 1 of 12 coronavirus infections is being identified. “This has a long way to go. For all intents and purposes we are now in the second wave.”
Gottlieb said these numbers mirror what was seen during the pandemic’s first peak in New York in April.
But Gottlieb warned that, unlike the April peak, today’s crest of infections has several major epicenters across the country: Florida, Texas’s major cities, California, and Arizona.
As of today, the United States has 2,911,888 COVID-19 cases, including 130,101 deaths, according to the tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
In California, which, unlike Florida and Arizona, was quick to enact physical distancing measures and slow to loosen them, officials reported 11,700 new cases yesterday—the biggest 1-day jump reported in the United States so far during the pandemic. According to CNN, California, New York, and Florida are the only states to have ever recorded daily case totals above 10,000.
At least 32 states have reported increasing case counts, while 14 are holding steady. CNN said case counts are dropping in only 4 states: Connecticut, Kentucky, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.
Miami-Dade County shuts down restaurants
Today Miami-Dade County, home to Miami, announced it was shutting down restaurants and gyms starting Wednesday in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 in the city.
In a press release, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez explained his decision: “We are still tracking the spike in the number of cases involving 18- to 34-year-olds that began in mid-June, which the County’s medical experts say was caused by a number of factors, including young people going to congested places — indoors and outside — without taking precautions such as wearing masks and practicing social distancing,” he said.
Today Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the average age of Floridians now testing positive for the virus is just 21. The case-fatality rate in the state is less than 2%.
According to USA Today, at least 21 states have paused their reopening plans in the face of rising cases.
Trump’s erroneous claim of ‘harmless’ COVID-19
Over the weekend, President Donald Trump said 99% of COVID-19 cases are harmless, an easily refuted statement when several states are reporting record hospitalization rates. Today, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the president and said he was referring to the country’s low COVID-19 death rate and the wide use of therapeutics to help treat infections.
Trump, at a Fourth of July celebration at the White House this weekend, also reiterated earlier claims that an effective treatment or vaccine would be available before the end of the year. Yesterday on ABC’s “This Week,” current FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, MD, said he was seeing unprecedented speed on vaccine work but would not assign a date as to when an effective COVID-19 vaccine would be available.
“Our solemn promise to the American people is that we will make a decision based upon the data and science on a vaccine, with respect to the safety and effectiveness of that vaccine,” Hahn said.
Following his Jul 3 campaign rally at Mount Rushmore, Trump has announced his next event, which will be held outside in New Hampshire on Jul 11. Participants are strongly encouraged to wear face masks, which will be provided at the event.
Despite the president’s optimism, new polls show Americans are more worried about the virus today than in May. A new Gallup poll showed 86% of those polled said they used a mask in public in the past week, up from about 50% in April.
And 54% of those polled were worried about a lack of social distancing in their community. This is the first time a poll has showed that a majority of Americans are worried about a lack of about social distancing.