I’m deeply concerned that too many states are pushing the idea of reopening far too soon and that these actions could cost lives tragically and unnecessarily.
The number of new COVID cases is still rising in the United States instead of flattening out and dropping. While some of this trend in test results could be related to having more tests available than before, many experts are concerned that the actual rate of new infections could still be on the rise instead of falling. States should not reopen if the number of true COVID cases is continuing to increase, yet it appears that multiple places like Georgia and Texas are doing just that. By reopening too quickly, the rate of new infections will increase, not decrease. If too many COVID cases happen at once, the health care systems in those areas could be overwhelmed, which would lead to more needless deaths.
With multiple states potentially reopening before they are ready or should, several computer models are now predicting a continuing rise of COVID deaths. For example, the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has increased its projected US deaths by COVID from 72,000+ up to 134,475 by Aug 4. A newer model from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania is predicting 117,000 deaths by June 30 if states don’t reopen and 466,000 if they do.
Startling, scary news indeed.
The erratic behavior of Donald Trump and resulting disorganization (with conflicting information) at the federal level has complicated matters and left the states to fight the pandemic more on their own than they should have had to do. The lack of competent leadership from the White House has contributed to the states responding to the pandemic without enough coordinated strategy. While a number of governors are doing a great job under terrible circumstances, it has led to too much of a piecemeal approach in fighting COVID.
While I hope better coordination will be found, without the White House stepping up to the plate and doing its job properly, that will unfortunately be a difficult prospect to achieve.