“The country is probably going to cost $ 7 trillion because of a little virus,” Redfield said during the House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
Redfield’s comments show that half of the US states are seeing spikes in new coronavirus cases – and not just because of increased testing, health officials say.
Arizona, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin Wyoming.
Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting director of the US CDC, said that “no state has effectively changed from stay-at-home orders to the public health model of testing, tracking, isolating and detaining.”
“We need to figure out how to make that transition a successful way, or every state that reopens – even those who have done a good job of reducing it – is going to see a dramatic increase,” Besser told CNN on Tuesday.
“And we’ll go back to where we were.”
Redfield said the virus highlighted decades of underinvestment in “core competencies of public health data.” Now is the time to fix a broken system.
“It needs to be shared. Investing in public health at the local level is not a burden on the federal government,” Redfield said. In fact, “If your CDC funding goes out tomorrow, public health infrastructure across this country will collapse.”
“We are the backbone of it right now.”
“The next two weeks are going to be key to our ability to address the surgeries we are seeing in Florida, Texas, Arizona and other states – they are the only ones experiencing it,” said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
During Fouci’s testimony Tuesday before the House Committee hearing, the nation’s top infectious disease expert made an appeal to all Americans:
“Plan A: Don’t go in the crowd. Plan B: If you do, make sure you wear a mask.”
The timing of these surges makes sense
Health experts say the spikes in the new cases now coincide with those of the states that began reopening several weeks ago – many refusing or abandoning safety measures such as wearing masks and social distance.
While health officials report an increase in cases of young people, Redfield said Tuesday that more than half of the country’s nursing homes – more than 7,000 – have a Kovid-19 patient.
“Two weeks ago, we had 17 states growing up,” says Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota.
Now, that number has increased to at least 25 states. “And we are likely to get more states into those cases soon,” Osterholm said Tuesday. “So, we’re looking at an angle to open the virus and have more contact with each other.”
After a new exposure to the virus, symptoms can take up to two weeks. After that, people may not test immediately. Then, the need for a hospital for serious cases may take even longer.
Although health officials are expecting new cases with the reopening of the state, there is little to no new cases and a dramatic increase in hospitalization.
Arizona set a new record this week for the number of people hospitalized on a given day with Kovid-19 – about 2,000 people, according to data from the Kovid tracking project. The seven-day moving average in the state is also growing in hospital.
“People are getting into hospital beds and are getting into ICU (intensive care unit) beds faster than they are being discharged,” said Will Hamble, executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association.
With nearly 84% of the state’s ICU beds already filled, he said he fears hospitals will go to “care crisis standards”, which means “less care for everyone, not just those with Covid-19.”
California has reported more than 35% of total infections from the epidemic in the last two weeks. The state reported 5,019 confirmed coronavirus cases on Monday, according to statistics provided by the California Department of Public Health. Hospitalizations for Covid-19 patients were also high.
It is not only increased testing
Some politicians have attributed the rise in tests to new cases. But in many cases, the number of new Kovid-19 cases is much higher than the number of new tests, researchers say.
“In most states, testing is growing, but the percentage of people who are positive is actually very high,” Osterholm said.
“It’s not a masterpiece of further testing.”
Even with increased testing, the country is still “behind the virus,” says the former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
“We are still responding. We are not ahead of it,” said Kathleen Sebelius.
‘Moving too fast in the wrong direction’
What is happening in Arizona and other states can eliminate the progress that orders made at home within a week.
“The number of new cases stabilized at the beginning of May, actually improving the likelihood rate (on examination),” Humble said.
“We came out of our stay-at-home order in the middle of May, and what we are seeing is an increase in cases on May 26, in line with the end of the stay-at-home order.”
After Houston reported the number of new Kovid-19 cases daily, Turner called on residents to take safety measures more seriously.
This is a health care crisis, he said. “Quite frankly, your failure, for example, wearing masks … or committing to social distance can have a direct impact on someone else.”
States are steadily improving or numbers
In 12 states, the number of new daily cases has remained steady in recent days: Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
In 13 states, the number of new cases is generally decreasing: Alabama, Connecticut, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont.
“New York has reached one of the highest infection rates in the country, because we have made decisions based on science rather than politics,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.
“We see what happens when you reopen in other states, regardless of measurements or data – it’s bad for public health and the economy, and the states that reopened in the rush are now seeing boomerang.”
Cuomo is considering forcing detainees from overcrowded states to come to New York State, he said.
CNN’s Gisela Crespo, Jen Selva, Jen Christensen, Andrea Kane, Cheri Mossberg, Maggie Fox and Theresa Waldrop contributed to this report.