Two Steps Forward, One Back

Just when the President and many state Governors believed that the worst of COVID-19 infections were behind us, infection numbers and hospitalizations have suddenly spiked in a number of states. If there is any good to be found in the recent numbers, the number of deaths remains low. The majority of infections have been in the under age 40 population where the virus seems to be less virulent. Younger individuals are less likely to wear masks and to practice social distancing which may explain the spikes. Perhaps they foolishly believe they are less susceptible to the virus or that wearing a mask is a sign of weakness. The virus doesn’t care your age or any other physical parameter, it simply looks for an opportune host. Texas is one state that has seen a surge in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations. Governor Greg Abbott shut down bars today (Friday) and scaled back restaurant dining to 50% of capacity. The last four days alone has seen more than 23,000 confirmed new COVID-19 cases with 5,000 patient hospitalizations in a single day. Bars were chosen for crackdown due to a lack of social distancing by bar patrons. Rafting and tubing outfitters were also ordered closed and indoor gatherings of more than 100 were discouraged. Some actually felt that the Governor’s actions didn’t go far enough. At this point no statewide mandatory mask policies have been issued, a measure encouraged by the state restaurant association. Arizona is facing similar spikes in COVID-19 infection and hospitalizations. Governor Doug Ducey is encouraging residents to remain at home. State health officials have confirmed 8,942 new COVID-19 cases today (Friday) which was almost double the previous single-day high. Hospitals are near capacity as the percentage of positive tests reached nearly 15%.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has seen a surge in COVID-19 cases since he opened the state. Pictures of unmasked sunbathers crowding beaches have been plastered all over the MSM. The media have been particularly hard on DeSantis who was praised by the President for his early success. The Governor was able to avoid some of the problems that beset the Northeast, particularly the high nursing home mortality that was seen in New York City. DeSantis took special measures to protect nursing home patients and ensure that facilities had the necessary PPE to care for their patients. A gloating New York Governor Cuomo was critical of DeSantis and others as if he is the expert in dealing with the virus. Cuomo is forgetting the major blunders he made when asking for thousands of unnecessary ventilators, the USNS Comfort Hospital Ship and the emergency hospitals erected by the Army Corps of Engineers. Cuomo is the LAST person to be giving advice or criticizing another Governor. California also continues to have high numbers of infections and hospitalizations. The number of hospitalized patients rose 32% in the past two weeks to 4,240. Governor Gavin Newsom issued both a stay at home and mandatory mask order and has encouraged social distancing in his state. In total, 33 states have experienced rising numbers of infections as people have grown weary of stay at home mandates. Many have also rebelled against the request to wear a mask in public. Many don’t seem to understand that you could be infected and have little to no symptoms. Why risk spreading the virus to others when wearing a mask greatly reduces the risk to others. We were offered hope that the virus would “fizzle out” as summer approached. Instead the virus is like a hurricane, gaining energy from the summer heat. A vaccine is on the horizon and we are learning new ways of treating the infection with fewer deaths. It is up to each of us to take adequate precautions to lower our risk of infection and preventing asymptomatic spread to others.

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