The U.S. government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic continues to be faltering, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Leaked CDC documents dated June 9 that were obtained and published by Yahoo News this week show the U.S. is still exhibiting astronomical increases in new cases of the virus, doing far worse to contain it than the other nine nations who have experienced the highest number of total cases: Brazil, Russia, the United Kingdom, India, Spain, Italy, Peru, Germany, and Iran. The CDC document shows that the U.S. experienced an estimated 36.5% uptick in confirmed daily cases, which is far above any of the other countries. (The closest is Peru, which saw a 4.46% increase in confirmed daily cases.)
Another document from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, also from June 9, confirmed the 36.5% statistic, according to Yahoo News. The FEMA document also shows that the rolling average of daily deaths in the U.S. is beginning to exceed 1,000 per day.
The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine tracker shows that of the 7.4 million confirmed cases globally, just over 2 million of them have been in the U.S., which has also seen over 113,000 of the nearly 460,000 deaths. (These numbers are likely an undercount.) The U.S., however, has charged ahead with reopening businesses and other institutions initially shut down under emergency lockdown measures in all 50 states, despite most of the states falling short of federal guidelines on coronavirus containment and the U.S. failing to come anywhere close to the progress seen in many other nations loosening restrictions.
Amid nationwide protests against the police killing of Minneapolis man George Floyd and rampant police brutality and racism over the past few weeks, some have raised concerns about a potential future increase in cases. While it remains unknown how easily the coronavirus could spread at a protest, experts consider outdoors activities to be much lower in risk than indoor ones. The number of in-person interactions at a protest is likely dwarfed by the number of people with public-facing jobs or daily routines that expose them to others.
That said, rising numbers of cases were also observed well before the protests began in states that were first to reopen, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation report. Texas has been setting covid-19 hospitalization records, as has North Carolina. Arizona has warned it is reaching critical capacity for ECMO lung machines that are crucial to the care of patients whose lungs are extremely damaged.
The Washington Post reports that Texas, Arkansas, South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida and Utah all reached peaks in seven-day rolling case averages as of Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported Thursday that cases are rising in nearly half of states. Those numbers may reflect increased testing or local outbreaks but in many cases seem clearly correlated to the loosening of restrictions, the AP reported.
The Trump administration’s disastrous handling of the pandemic has veered wildly, ranging from deranged insistence that the situation has been overblown by the media to offloading the bulk of the response to state governors. In turn, many of those governors begun reopening before their states met the already loose nonbinding criteria set by the White House. It’s not clear that states are ready to mount effective public health strategies like contact tracing.
Last week, President Donald Trump told reporters, “We’ve made every decision correctly” when it comes to coronavirus, adding that the nation may have “some embers or some ashes or we may have some flames coming, but we’ll put them out.” He also announced new campaign rallies in states where new infections have surged, including Florida, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina. Harvard Global Health Institute director Dr. Ashish Jha recently told Today that he believes the death count will cross 200,000 in September.