Since the pandemic hit U.S. states, the number of confirmed cases has ballooned to over 2.2 million, making up the most cases of any country worldwide. Despite early predictions that the pandemic would slow as temperatures climbed, predictions are now swinging in the opposite direction.
Michael Osterholm, head of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, likens the spread to a forest fire and doesn’t see the virus slowing anytime soon.
“I think that wherever there’s wood to burn, this fire’s going to burn — and right now we have a lot of susceptible people,” Osterholm said during a weekend interview on NBC’s Meet the Press. “Right now, I don’t see this slowing down through the summer or into the fall. I don’t think we’re going to see one, two and three waves. I think we’re going to just see one very, very difficult forest fire of cases.”
MORE ON THE PANDEMIC
Top Democrats say the Trump administration has been sitting on nearly $14 billion in funding that Congress passed for coronavirus efforts.
In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Patty Murray of Washington said the Trump administration has “still failed” to distribute more than $8 billion out of $25 billion appropriated by Congress in April to expand testing, contact tracing and collecting data on racial and ethnic disparities in connection to COVID-19. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also hasn’t awarded nearly $4 billion for surveillance and contact tracing at the state and local levels.
The number of coronavirus cases in Florida has surpassed 100,000 cases, according to data released by the state’s Department of Health.
And as Miami’s Jackson Health System has seen a 75% increase in coronavirus patients in the past 13 days, the city’s Republican Mayor Francis Suarez has mandated wearing masks inside and outside while in public. He also says the city will not host any rallies if asked by the White House.
Florida, along with at least 10 states, saw their highest 7-day average of daily new coronavirus cases on June 21.
Citing risky behavior, infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci says he’s not surprised by the rising number of coronavirus cases among young people in their 20s and 30s. In Mississippi, officials attributed new cases to fraternity rush parties. In Texas, people under 30 made up a majority of new coronavirus cases in several counties last week. Governor Greg Abbott blamed the increase in young infected people on Memorial Day parties, visits to bars or other gatherings.
Retail alcohol sales jumped by 55% nationally during the third week of March, when many stay-at-home orders were put in place, according to Nielsen data, and online sales skyrocketed. Health experts warn people to watch for signs of problematic drinking, including big increases in the amount of alcohol consumed, changes in sleep patterns, either more or less than usual or driking that interferes with everyday life.
If you or someone you know has a drinking problem, go to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website for resources.