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How coronavirus cases have increased since states reopened

The current surge in coronavirus cases in the United States is driven by countries that were among the first to reopen their economies. Decisions that epidemiologists have warned of could lead to a wave of infections.

Percentage change in average daily cases since reopening

Based on a moving 7-day average in states with a total of at least 2,000 cases.

Florida and South Carolina were among the first to open and are now among the states leading the current surge. In contrast, the states that bore the brunt of the cases in March and April but reopened more slowly have since seen a significant decrease in reported cases. Average daily falls in New York have dropped 52 percent since reopening in late May and 83 percent in Massachusetts.

The reopening dates shown here come from a New York Times database that tracked when states canceled home orders or allowed key sectors like retail, restaurants, and personal care services to reopen throughout the state or in most areas. (In the above and lower diagrams, states with less than 2,000 cases in total are excluded.)

States that reopened before May 1st

7-day moving average of daily events. Each state has its own scale.

Note: South Dakota did not order closings on April 28, but updated the guidelines for businesses and residents.

South Carolina – the first country to reopen retail stores – continues to set records for reported cases. On Wednesday, the average daily case count was 1,570 versus 143 when the state reopened. State health agencies estimate that they have identified only 14 percent of cases since most are undiagnosed.

Cases in Georgia have risen 245 percent since the end of April, causing some cities to require the use of face masks. These local mandates go beyond a nationwide order signed by Governor Brian Kemp to promote but not require masks.

States that reopened before May 15th

7-day moving average of daily events. Each state has its own scale.

Florida Since the reopening at the beginning of May, the average of daily cases has increased more than tenfold. Public health officials said the return to bars, restaurants, and house parties is the reason for the surge. The state has since stopped drinking locally in bars. Florida is not alone – more than a third of the states are pausing or reversing plans to reopen.

Arizona – in addition to an increase in cases – has the highest rate of positive tests in the country, with almost one in four coming back positive. The nationwide rate is around 9 percent.

States that were later reopened

7-day moving average of daily events. Each state has its own scale.

Among the first countries affected by the coronavirus California now sees a spike in cases. The state was once seen as a model for curbing the virus, but experts attribute the current rise to an inconsistent adoption of prevention strategies and a random reopening process that gave people the wrong feeling of being clear.

new YorkAt the epicenter of the virus, the average daily case numbers decreased along with the rate of positive test results, which is 1 percent. The state is still opening up, but a full return to normal is a way out, especially as hotspots are emerging across the country. To prevent the virus from recurring in the region, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have issued a travel guide that quarantines travelers from hotspots for two weeks. Violators would be fined, but there is currently no enforcement mechanism.

President Trump has attributed the rapid growth in the cases to an increase in tests, but tests alone don’t explain the increase. The United States is performing almost three times as many tests as when the outbreak began, but growth in the cases exceeds the growth of the tests in at least half of the states. The lack of test kits remains a common problem. Some test sites are reported to run out of supplies just a few minutes after opening.

Percentage change in average daily cases and tests since reopening

Based on moving 7-day averages.

In addition, this wave of cases across the country is different from the early outbreak – while older people were mostly affected, younger people are now making up a much larger proportion of new cases.

Because younger people drive the spike in new cases, the death toll does not increase as much. However, experts warn that the United States could face a wave of death. Earlier in the pandemic, when testing was more limited, deaths were a week or two behind the cases. With the tests now more widespread, this interval is now more like two to four weeks.

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