Cases of COVID-19 are rising again, potentially signaling a second wave of the worldwide pandemic. This comes as some states in the U.S. are slowly reopening their economies and as widespread civil unrest has led to large groups gathering for protests and riots.
According to John Hopkins University of Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center, there are 10,507,983 cases and 512,071 deaths worldwide. In the U.S., there are currently 2,683,000 cases and 129,545 recorded deaths. Worldometer reports that there are 1,143,688 people in the U.S. who have recovered from COVID-19. The U.S. leads the world in the number of both cases and deaths.
“I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down please,'” said President Donald Trump during a recent Tulsa, Oklahoma reelection rally, before clarifying that testing is a “double-edged sword.” Initially, his administration said that the comment was made in jest, but Trump has since confirmed that he was not joking. Despite this apparent reduction in testing, the number of cases continues to rise.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Senate committee hearing Tuesday that “we’re going in the wrong direction,” in reference to the the rising case numbers. He said that there are only four states with rising numbers, and the rest appear to have good control on the pandemic. He explained that if states with the highest trending cases — Texas, Arizona, and Florida — don’t control the spread of the coronavirus, it will subsequently spread to the rest of the states.
When asked by Elizabeth Warren to provide an estimate of potential total cases in the future, Fauci responded: “I can’t make an accurate prediction, but it is going to be very disturbing, I will guarantee you that.” Fauci said that the U.S. is at approximately 40,000 new cases daily and that he will not be surprised if the daily number of cases increases to 100,000 if people don’t start adhering to social distancing, mask wearing, and hand hygiene.
The current increasing trend of COVID-19 cases indicate that the pandemic is far from over. Worldometer reported 44,734 new cases in the U.S. Monday; 46,042 new cases Tuesday; and 3,818 Wednesday at the time of publication. Decreased testing may be impacting these statistics, but they still show a steady spread of the virus. During a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) teleconference on Thursday, Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the CDC, confirmed that the “pandemic is not over.”
“There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through,” Redfield said in an interview with the Washington Post. He said that the concern is in regard to the influenza and coronavirus epidemics spiking at the same time over the upcoming winter. Both viruses incur respiratory disease, which could inflict another hospital supply crisis.
The U.S. healthcare system maxed out during the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and created a surge of production of N-95, surgical, and cloth masks, as well as mechanical ventilators. Many hospitals were at or over capacity. The U.S. Navy deployed two different hospital ships, the USNS Comfort to New York City and USNS Mercy to San Diego in support of domestic hospitals hardest hit by the pandemic.