CDC director Robert Redfield says the current spike in COVID-19 infections in the south may have been caused by people from the northeast who have been on vacation there and not states that are opening too soon again.
Redfield, addressing the alarming wave of coronavirus cases, said on Tuesday that infections in Sun Belt states “more or less pop at the same time” in the second week of June after reopening in several stages.
Redfield compared it to the first northeastern outbreak in March, which he says spread from the New York epicenter to several states.
“We’ve tried to give states guidelines on safe reopening. I think the guidance we provided was really good, ‘he said in an interview with Dr. Howard Bauchner from The Journal of the American Medical Association.
“I think if you look critically, few states have actually followed that directive, although I think the reopening is not the driving force behind the current southern enlargement.
“If you look south, everything happened between June 12 and June 16. It all came out of the blue.
CDC director Robert Redfield said on Tuesday that the current spike in COVID-19 infections in the south may have been caused by people from the northeast who travel there for vacation and not states that open too soon
New cases have occurred in recent weeks in Texas, Florida, Arizona and California, and the US now averages about 50,000 to 60,000 infections per day. 46 states reported more new cases of COVID-19 last week compared to the previous week
“We believe there was something else that was the driver. Maybe Memorial Day, not the weekend, but Memorial Day week, where many northerners decided to head south for vacations. ‘
Redfield said some states in the south did not take social distance measures as seriously as other parts of the country when they reopened because they did not have massive outbreaks.
This allowed the virus to spread quickly once introduced and settle in southern states, Redfield said.
“In mid-June, something we are dealing with now happened. It’s not as simple as saying it was related to the time of reopening and not reopening, “he said.
Redfield has not provided data to support its claim that vacationers in the Northeast may be partly responsible for the current wave of business.
CDC officials said there are several possible explanations and that Redfield only offered one.
His comments contradict that of Dr. Anthony Fauci, member of the White House Task Force, who said on Monday that the current wave was due to the US not stopping the pandemic prematurely.
The CDC director’s comments were slammed by the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Dr. Ashish Jha, who claimed that infections started to increase on June 1 – a week after the commemorations.
Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, is also starting to rise around the same time – within a week of Memorial Day. Have northern travelers had holidays in Idaho, Alaska, Oregon and seed pods there? Is it a coincidence that many of these states relaxed at the same time? Jha tweeted.
“How did these northern vacationers skip southern states like Virginia, which was still in phase 1? And what happened to these holidaymakers? Have they ever come home? And why didn’t they sow cases in the north before they left? The bottom line is that this is folly.
I’m not sure why (Redfield) pursues this argument. Either he looks at bad data or learns the wrong lessons. Northern holidaymakers don’t cause major national outbreaks. We need to get better at controlling the pandemic. Drawing wrong lessons is harmful for that purpose. ‘
Currently, there are more than 3.4 million infections in the U.S. and more than 136,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
New cases have occurred in recent weeks in Texas, Florida, Arizona and California, and the US now averages about 50,000 to 60,000 infections per day.
The number of deaths from COVID-19 has also risen over the past week, with about a dozen states reporting an increase in deaths for at least two consecutive weeks, including California, Florida and Texas.
“We have a very big problem in Florida, Texas, Arizona, California, South Carolina, it looks like it is starting to heat up in Tennessee,” said Redfield.
However, he said he believes the US can get COVID-19 under control in four to eight weeks if all Americans wear a mask and continue to distance themselves socially.
“I think if we can get everyone to wear a mask now, we can get this under control in four, six, eight weeks,” said Redfield.
“I am happy that the President and the Vice President are wearing masks. Obviously, in their situation, they can easily justify not having to … but we have to give them the example. ‘
He said he was “concerned” about fall and winter as it coincides with the flu season.
TEXAS CASES: Texas reported a record 10,745 new cases on Tuesday
TEXAS DEATHS: 87 new deaths were reported in Texas on Monday, down from record 105 on July 9
CALIFORNIA: The state reported 7,346 new cases and 47 new deaths on Monday
FLORIDA BUSINESS: The number of Florida business increased by 9,194, bringing the total to 291,629
FLORIDA DEATHS: Florida added a record 132 deaths to the death toll on Monday
“I think the fall and winter of 2020 and 2021 will likely be one of the most difficult times we’ve experienced in U.S. public health because of … the co-occurrence of COVID and influenza,” he said.
In fact, 46 states reported more new cases of COVID-19 last week compared to the previous week, according to a Reuters analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project.
New cases also continue to rise, with the US reporting more than 400,000 infections for the week ending July 12, up 21 percent from the previous seven days.
Nationally, new COVID-19 cases have increased every week for six weeks.
In New York, Tennessee, New Jersey and Delaware, business is only weekly.
While the southern and western states are seeing the greatest increase in the number of cases, infections in the Midwest are also increasing, with Minnesota cases increasing by 60 percent, Missouri by 40 percent, and Iowa by 30 percent.
Meanwhile, between July 6 and July 12, more than 5,000 people died from COVID-19, an increase of 46 percent from the previous week.
Texas, Arizona and Mississippi reported the largest weekly peak in deaths last week.
Redfield said he believes the US can get COVID-19 under control in four to eight weeks if all Americans wear a mask and keep social distance. He praised President Trump, who previously refused to wear a face covering until last Saturday, to set an example
Until now, the number of deaths per day from COVID-19 has been falling for months, even when hotspots in states like Florida, Texas and Arizona saw explosions in cases and hospitalizations.
Health officials have been warning for weeks that the number of deaths will increase again because the death rate is several weeks behind infections.
Coronavirus mortality, when it occurs, usually occurs several weeks after a person is first infected.
Experts had predicted states to see spikes in cases, and hospital admissions would also see an increase in deaths at some point.
The impact of the new wave of deaths was felt by the health workers struggling in congested Texas and Arizona hospitals requesting refrigerated trucks as the morgues reached capacity.
A forecast model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics predicts that the death toll will rise to 208,255 by November 1.
Experts say the death toll may not be as bad as when the pandemic first struck, as tests were extremely limited early on and many people’s health behaviors have now changed as masks wear more and more.