According to data tracked by The Washington Post, since the beginning of June 14 states in America have recorded their highest ever seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases.
The states include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah. Most states reported the spike beginning after the Memorial Day holiday weekend and are also seeing an increase in hospitalizations.
The increase marks a concerning trend of the virus spreading in inland states within more rural areas that have smaller populations and weaker healthcare infrastructures.
Texas, which has reported a total of 77,253 cases since the pandemic started, has seen a 36% increase in new cases since Memorial Day. As of Tuesday, the state has also reported 2,056 hospitalizations – its highest record yet.
In Arizona, which has reported a total of 28,296 cases, the state has seen a 49% increase in coronavirus cases since Memorial Day. With the increase in hospitalizations, Arizona is also nearing its total bed capacity with 76% of the state’s hospital beds already in use.
In Arkansas, which has 10,080 total cases, new hospitalizations have increased by 88% since May 25.
Addressing the spike of new COVID-19 cases, Utah’s COVID-19 community task force tweeted, “We have seen a spike in COVID-19 cases. It’s not explained by more testing or just one outbreak. Eased restrictions don’t cause increased cases alone–it’s our actions that cause COVID-19 to spread. Keep your distance and wear a mask in public, and stay home if you’re sick.”
The increase in COVID-19 cases comes amid concerns from health officials that the mass protests across the nation triggered by the killing of George Floyd, could lead to a second wave of new cases.
“It is a difficult situation,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview with WTOP. “We have the right to peaceably demonstrate, and the demonstrators are exercising that right. It’s important to exercise your constitutional rights to be able to demonstrate, but it’s a delicate balance, because the reasons for demonstrating are valid. And yet, the demonstration itself puts one at an additional risk.”
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also expressed concern that protests in New York City “could potentially be infecting hundreds and hundreds of people, after everything we have done.”
However, the uptick in the number of new confirmed cases has also been attributed to the gradual reopening of the economy.
Texas, which has seen a record rise in hospitalizations was one of the first states which allowed businesses to reopen. In Arizona, North Carolina and South Carolina, entertainment venues and restaurants were allowed to reopen ahead of Memorial Day and in most states, businesses have reopened albeit at limited capacity.
The United States remains the country hit hardest by the pandemic. As of June 10, COVID-19 cases in the United States have surpassed 2 million with the death toll nearing 115,000.
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