The first wave of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States never really ended, and cases are surging again. But this time, a different and much bigger swath of the country is feeling the effects.
The first peak came at the beginning of April: About 30,000 cases were reported per day, but the biggest hotspots were concentrated in just a few regions. With the right steps, public health experts said, there was still a chance the outbreak could be contained.
That didn’t happen, and new infections in the United States plateaued before roaring back again in late June as the virus spread to the rest of the country. Daily case counts are well above 30,000 now, and nearly 10 times as many counties are hotspots — where at least one person per thousand was diagnosed in the last two weeks — making the prospect of containment all the more unlikely.
Some rural counties in the South, West and Midwest, where the virus seemed like a distant threat just two months ago, are seeing hospitals approach capacity for the first time.
The numbers of new cases in some Florida counties, including Miami-Dade and Duval, have more than tripled in the past two weeks. In Texas, more than 6,000 new cases are diagnosed every day. Hospitals in Houston are so full that patients are being transferred to other cities. [Continue reading…]