As Americans grow anxious about the crippled economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the nation’s governors feel the pressure to reopen states despite warnings of a second wave of cases. All 50 states have begun some kind of reopening after being forced into lockdown as coronavirus cases peaked.
As of right now, there are 1,787,680 positive cases reported and 104,396 deaths in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since reopening, seventeen states have witnessed an increase in their case count. Arkansas, West Virginia, Alaska, Alabama and Vermont are amongst the top five states showing a 50% increase in cases this past week, compared to the number of cases in the previous week. Governors are unclear whether or not the spike in cases is a direct effect of reopening. Governor Hutchinson of Arkansas attributed the increase to the doubling of tests being done, asserting the safety of the reopening.
Additionally, Wisconsin is beginning to see some of its highest single-day case count increase just two weeks after the state Supreme Court put an end to the governor’s stay-at-home order. This comes after warnings from health officials who informed the public that accurate coronavirus data would come with a two-week lag. Similarly, Iowa case count has surpassed 1,000 for the first time since April. Since the beginning of May, businesses and stores have been allowed to reopen but their cases have remained in the thousands since then. Nebraska has also seen a spike in cases since reopening. During the last week of April, the state saw an increase of about 1,000 cases. After restrictions were lifted, the number of new cases each week has grown to over 2,000.
Further, thirteen states remain steady in cases since stay at home orders were lifted. Twenty states are continuing to show a decrease in cases.
Businesses that are reopening are doing so under certain restrictions. Fewer customers are being allowed in at one time and workers/customers must wear masks, all while continuing to reinforce social distancing. Despite these safer measures, health experts warn that reopening too hastily might result in unseen consequences. Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says he expects a new wave of cases in an interview with The Washington Post. He says that the country must prepare for new caseloads that may cause devastating effects in the fall.