The coronavirus is surging rapidly in 32 US states as the virus death toll has surpassed 130,000 across the country.
Doctors say they are worried about more hospitalizations and deaths in the US in the coming weeks as new cases spiked.
“We’re accelerating nationally. … The number of cases still continues to accelerate,” said Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
“We’re breaking records almost every day here in the state of Texas. People are piling into hospitals, into ICUs (intensive care units). We can’t really keep going at this rate,” he told CNN.
At least US 32 states are reporting higher rates of new cases this week compared to last week after some rushed to reopen, according to Johns Hopkins University data: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington state, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The number of virus cases in the United States has doubled in the span of a week and a half, yet officials are saying this is still the first wave of the pandemic, CNN said.
“We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said on Monday.
“I would say, this would not be considered a wave. It was a surge, or a resurgence of infections superimposed upon a baseline … that really never got down to where we wanted to go.”
There are reports of shortage of hospital beds in the US and more people ignoring the threat of the disease.
“We are in free fall,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, chief of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“People are either naive to the influence of their actions, or they’re simply resigned to ignore it.”
The US coronavirus deaths exceeded 130,000 on Monday as the massive surge has put President Donald Trump’s handling of the COVID-19 crisis under the spotlight and derailed efforts to restart the economy.
New York state has the highest death toll in the US with 397,649, followed by California and Florida with 6,460 and 3,778 deaths respectively.
The US virus cases are approaching 3 million, including a growing number of young adults, the highest tally in the world and double the infections reported in the second most-affected nation Brazil, Reuters said.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has forecast 140,000 to 160,000 virus deaths by July 25.
Sixteen states have posted record daily increases in new cases since the start of July including Florida, which confirmed more than 11,000 in a single day.
The new surge in the coronavirus came days after President Trump once again downplayed the pandemic, claiming that 99% of COVID-19 cases “are totally harmless”.
Trump “co-conspirator” of coronavirus
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on Trump not to be a “co-conspirator” of the coronavirus and acknowledge the “major problem” it poses as cases rises in dozens of states.
“So, Mr. President, don’t be a co-conspirator of COVID,” Cuomo said at a news briefing. “Acknowledge to the American people that COVID exists, it is a major problem, it’s going to continue until we admit it and each of us stands up to do our part.”
Cuomo slammed Trump’s comments that the surge in US cases was due to increased testing.
“He makes up facts. He makes up science,” Cuomo said, citing several past Trump statements on the virus such it would disappear like a miracle as the weather got warmer.
“He said all those things, none of them were true,” Cuomo continued. “And now we have a problem in 38 states because some people believe him.”