Friday, July 3, 2020

An Infectious Disease Doctor Explains Why Coronavirus Cases Are Skyrocketing

Covid-19 cases are spiking around the country. AFP via Getty Images

By Mark Kortepeter

After months of maintaining a plateau, new Covid-19 cases in the United States are skyrocketing in certain states: Texas, California, Arizona, and Florida, to name a few. Put simply, we are losing the war with the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

What is going on?

During an interview for a Reuters article back on February 11, 2020, before we had any Covid-19 cases in the United States, I said, that the infections that had occurred thus far pointed to an “agent that is highly transmissible,” in enclosed environments, and that “the virus is unforgiving and there is no room for error in use of personal protective equipment and hand hygiene.”

The viral “enemy” and basics of viral transmission have not changed since then and increases in new cases of infection are not surprising. The states that have either ignored the problem or have had more aggressive re-opening timelines are now paying the price and are having to walk back on their prior openings. The states in the northeast that were hammered during the first wave are being a bit more cautious and seeing declining or stable numbers of cases.

The study of infectious disease epidemiology is not rocket science. We may not be able to name with pinpoint precision how many cases or deaths will occur on a given day, but we can identify and predict trends. People, states, and governments ignore basic principles of infection spread at their peril. Although the numbers of deaths have been declining across the U.S., as the cases surge, it will not be surprising if an increase in deaths soon follows. Hoping that this problem will go away is not a plan.  Read more >>