The data – summarized here by New York Times – however, they show that after the weekend of May 25, daily cases of contagion have increased in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona. In particular, COVID-19 patients who must undergo medical treatment have increased in these states. According to an analysis of Washington Post the number of positives has grown hand in hand with that of hospitalizations in the past two weeks, although the latter are difficult to track because states register and communicate differently or do not communicate them at all.
– Also read: Is this the worst moment of the pandemic?
Always according to Washington Post the increase in positive cases would not be linked to an increase in the tests carried out: in the states in which new peaks are detected, the percentage increase in cases of contagion is greater than that of the tests. Basically, the data show that not only the number of coronavirus-positive people has increased because “we are looking for more”, but precisely because there have been more infections and therefore a greater number of people who have contracted the virus.
According to Washington Post the cause of this proliferation of contagions should be sought in the crowds following the reopenings that coincided in many states with the weekend of May 25, which was also that of Memorial Day, the day on which American soldiers are commemorated in the United States of America fallen of all wars. In those days thousands of Americans moved to the tourist locations of the states most affected today such as Lake Havasu, a popular tourist destination in Arizona, or to the zoos, aquariums and water parks of South Carolina where the opening was granted precisely on the occasion of the Memorial Day weekend.
On May 20, President Donald Trump had commented on the primacy of the country with the highest number of infections as an “honor”, as it would have shown the high number of tests carried out and their efficiency. Now, however, especially in states where contagions are growing the most, the impact of the epidemic on the health system is creating new concerns.
The situation is particularly critical in Arizona, where the peak of positivity according to experts cannot be attributed to the high number of tests. According to William Hanage, Harvard University professor of epidemiology, the situation in Arizona is “alarming”. According to the data released on June 10, in Arizona the cases of infection were 28,852 and 1,095 died.
Banner Health, Arizona’s largest nonprofit healthcare system, said last week that ICU seats were filling up and that the number of patients undergoing lung ventilation since May 15 had quadrupled. On June 6, the director of the state’s health department, Cara M. Christ, sent a letter to the hospitals urging them to “fully activate” their emergency plans.
Our ICUs are very busy caring for the sickest of the sick who are battling COVID-19. Since May 15, ventilated COVID-19 patients have quadrupled. Banner Health also recently reached capacity for patients receiving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) treatment. (2/3)
– Banner Health (@BannerHealth) June 8, 2020
Despite this, Republican Governor Doug Ducey continued to diminish the emergency, declaring that the increase in cases after the reopening was foreseeable, and related – against the opinion of the experts – the peak of the contagions to the increase in tests. From May 16 to June 9, however, cases increased 108 percent while tests increased 100 percent. An estimate by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Assessment in mid-May predicted that Arizona would reach approximately 2,900 deaths by August 4, while it now predicts more than 4,400 deaths by the same date.
The data show that last week in several days the new cases of contagion were more than a thousand (1,500 this Wednesday), while in the previous weeks the increase was in the order of hundreds, around 400 at the end of the lockdown. But what is most worrying is the constant increase in hospitalized patients, with suspicion or confirmation of contagion from coronavirus, which reached 1,266 on Sunday 7 June, the second highest number since the state began reporting data on 9 April .
Another state where the epidemic continues worryingly is Texas, where 75,616 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded to date. According to data published by the state’s health department, there were 2,504 new daily infections on Wednesday 10 June, a record number since the beginning of the epidemic and much higher than the previous record of 1,949 cases on 31 May.
Since Memorial Day, cases have increased by 36 percent, but the biggest fear, also in Texas, is the number of COVID-19 inpatients who had risen to 2,056 by June 9, with an increase of almost one hundred and twenty people in a only day. Local health authorities have attributed the increase in infections to a change in the way the Department of Health is reporting cases of the three prisons in Jefferson County.
Arkansas, Mississippi and Utah
Even in Arkansas the healthcare system is struggling: based on data collected by the Washington Post, since Memorial Day, hospitalizations have increased by 88 percent from 92 on 25 May to 173 on 9 June. According to local authorities, the increase in cases of contagion, which reached 10,080, is not due to the recent protests of the Black Lives Matter movement, which are still too recent to have visible consequences. In Mississippi there are 18,109 cases of infection, and the maximum number of inpatients was recorded last Tuesday: 671, with an increase of 17 percent since Memorial Day. On May 25 there were 573. Also in Utah both the positive and the positive are increasing. hospitalizations, with the latter, reaching 230, doubled from 25 May.