The COVID era feels like an eternity. We know a lot more about the disease than we did a few short months ago, but unfortunately, our will to follow CDC guidelines seems to be waning. Hence, the recent surge of cases in states such as Florida, Texas, and Arizona. Prompted in part by efforts to open the economy, these hotspots indicate that the pandemic is far from over.
The Origins of the Surge
Signs of a surge first became evident in late June, as new cases and hospitalizations increased dramatically over a period of several days. Since then, several regions have suffered spikes that look a lot like the catastrophe that New York, New Jersey, and other areas on the East Coast suffered in March and April. In early July, Florida set the record for new cases with more than 15,000 new cases in a single day; the number of new cases in Florida that day was greater than the number of new cases in every European country combined.
Can the Surge Be Resolved?
Experts warn that we stand at an alarming precipice. If residents of surge areas resume strict social distancing and use of masks, new cases may eventually taper off, much as they did in the earliest affected areas of the United States. Without the public’s cooperation, however, we risk seeing tragedies such as those suffered early on in New York City repeat in Houston, Phoenix, and several other locations.
What About the Second Wave?
The recent surge does not, as some people claim, represent the disease’s second wave. Currently compromised regions never experienced a true first wave. Unfortunately, this means that the entire nation remains vulnerable to the dreaded second wave, which could arrive in the fall. The sooner we get the current surge under control, the more resources we can dedicate to a potential second wave.