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COVID-19 Soars in U.S. South and Southwest

COVID-19 Soars in U.S. South and Southwest

Coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths continue to rise across sections of the United States, leading to crisis conditions in the South and Southwest, in particular. Arizona, Texas and Florida together reported about 25,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey (R) adopted statewide mask-wearing as daily deaths hit an all-time high. In Mississippi there are mandatory mask-wearing orders in 13 counties, and Gov. Tate Reeves (R) urged people to wear them statewide.

In Georgia, hospitalization has risen above earlier peaks from April, and there is concern that they may run out of critical care beds soon in a number of counties. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that “shares of open critical care beds in regions surrounding Athens, Dublin, Macon, Marietta, Savannah and Tifton have dipped into the single digits…. Disease experts at Georgia Tech and elsewhere have warned that Georgia is running out of time to prevent surges of cases that have overwhelmed hospitals in Florida, Arizona and other states that eased restrictions.”

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) added to a list totaling 22 states whose visitors will be required to quarantine for 14 days if they visit the tri-state region. Out-of-state travelers arriving in New York airports from those states face a $2,000 fine and a mandatory quarantine order if they fail to fill out a tracing form.

DC, Maryland and Virginia are all once again “trending up” in the last week as lock-downs have been eased, prompting warning from VA Gov Ralph Northam (D) on wearing masks in public. “Hospitals in [DC] have been running at just short of 80 percent capacity — a threshold that could trigger additional restrictions or measures to handle a surge of coronavirus patients,” according to the {Washington Post}.

The situation in nursing homes continues to be a dangerous hot spot in many states. The New York State Department of Health produced a report on nursing homes, tracking the source of spike in infections/deaths to the lack of testing: “approximately 37,500 nursing home staff members, or one in four of the state’s approximately 158,000 nursing home workers, were infected with COVID-19 between March and early June 2020… It is likely that thousands of employees who were infected in mid-March transmitted the virus unknowingly—through no fault of their own—while working, which then led to resident infection,” the NYSDOH report stated.

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