The nation’s top infectious disease expert is warning Americans that this is still just the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci. “We went up, never came down to baseline, and now we’re surging back up. So it’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
Fauci said the number of new daily infections nearly doubled over the past week-and-a-half.
“A series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up, in the sense of getting back to some form of normality has led to a situation where we now have record-breaking cases,” Fauci said.
CDC expert Dr. William Schaffner echoed Fauci’s warning: “It’s all over the country now, it’s spreading widely. It now relies on us as individuals if we don’t have a national plan. We have to wear a mask, watch the social distancing, and avoid large groups.”
Some of Florida’s reopening plan came to a halt in Miami-Dade County. By Wednesday, businesses such as gyms and dine-in restaurants will be closed once again in an effort to slow the spread.
“We’re starting to roll the carpet back up,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber. “You know, it is pretty clear we have this real problem. Two weeks ago there were 60 COVID-19 patients on ventilators. Today it is 160.”
Ventilator use is up 127% across Miami-Dade County, and hospitalizations are up 90%. Forty-three intensive care units are already at capacity, and an additional 32 show a bed availability of 10% or less. Twenty-six percent of tests in the county came back positive on Sunday, with a spike in cases involving 18- to 34-year-olds.
“We need to curtail the social activities of young people because that’s where our problems started,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez. “My concern is that we’re going to reach the capacity, our medical capacity.”
Thirty-one states experienced a rise in new cases in the past week.
In California, the state capitol shut down after five assembly members tested positive.
Meanwhile, Texas crossed 200,000 confirmed cases and Dallas reported another high in hospitalizations.
The military announced it is sending 50-some medical and support personnel to the San Antonio area to help with the surge.
“The cases are rising so rapidly that we cannot even do contact tracing anymore. I don’t think … I don’t see how it’s possible to even do that,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, Dean of the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine.