As of Tuesday, 25 states have posted higher rates of new cases compared to last week: Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio , Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
And no state has effectively transitioned orders to stay home “to a trial, follow-up, isolation and quarantine public health model,” said Dr. Richard Besser, former acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Control. US Disease Prevention USA
“We have to find a way to make that transition successfully, or every state that reopens, even those that have done a good job of reducing this, are going to see quite dramatic increases,” Besser told CNN Tuesday.
“And we’re going to end up back where we were.”
Why does the timing of these waves make sense?
Health experts say the spikes in new cases now coincide with states that began reopening several weeks ago, with many people rejecting or abandoning security measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
“Two weeks ago, we had 17 states with increasing cases,” said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Now that number has grown to at least 25 states. “And we are likely to move more states to that rising category of cases very soon,” Osterholm said Tuesday. “So we’re looking at what, in a sense, the virus’s reaction to openness and much more contact with each other.”
After a new exposure to this virus, it can take up to two weeks for symptoms to appear. After that, people may not be tested right away. So it can take even longer for severe cases to require hospitalization.
While health officials expected new cases as states reopened, many did not expect new cases and hospitalizations to increase so dramatically in some places.
Arizona set a new record this week for the number of people hospitalized on a given day with Covid-19, about 2,000, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. The state’s seven-day moving average of hospitalizations is also increasing.
“People are admitted to hospital beds and they are admitted to ICU beds faster than they are discharged,” said Will Humble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association.
With about 84% of the state’s ICU beds already full, Humble said he is concerned that hospitals fall under “crisis care standards,” which basically means “less care for everyone, not just people with Covid-19 “.
In California, Los Angeles County reported a new single-day record for new cases on Monday, with 2,571 new cases. And across the state, California recorded more than 35% of its total infections from the entire pandemic in the past two weeks.
It’s not just a bigger test
Some politicians have attributed spikes in new cases to increased evidence. But in many places, the number of new Covid-19 cases is disproportionately greater than the number of new tests being done, the researchers say.
“In many states, testing is increasing, but the percentage of positive people is actually much higher,” said Osterholm.
“This is not an artifact of just more testing at all.”
Even with increased testing, the country is still “far behind the virus,” says a former US secretary of health and human services. USA
“We are still reacting. We are not ahead,” said Kathleen Sebelius.
‘Moving very fast in the wrong direction’
What is happening in Arizona and other states could erase much of the progress made over weeks of orders to stay home.
“The number of new cases had stabilized in early May, and the positivity rate (in tests) had actually improved,” said Humble.
“We came out of our order to stay home in mid-May, and what we saw happened was that around May 26, that increase in cases that corresponded to the end of the order to stay home.”
After Houston reported its highest daily count of new Covid-19 cases, Turner asked residents to take safety measures more seriously.
“This is a health crisis,” he said. “Frankly, her failure, for example, to wear masks … or to engage in social estrangement directly impacts another person.”
Where states are seeing stable numbers or improving
In 12 states, the number of new daily cases has been stable in recent days: Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
And in 13 states, the number of new cases is generally declining: Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Vermont.
“New York went from one of the highest infection rates in the country to one of the lowest because we made decisions based on science, not policy,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
“We are seeing in other states what happens when it reopens regardless of metrics or data: it is bad for public health and the economy, and states that reopened quickly are now seeing a boomerang.”
Cuomo is considering forcing visitors from high-transmission states to quarantine upon arrival in New York state, he said.
CNN’s Gisela Crespo, Jenn Selva, Jen Christensen, Andrea Kane, Cheri Mossburg and Maggie Fox contributed to this report.