Just three countries account for more than 50% of the global daily infection rate associated with COVID-19 as cases continue to surge in the United States, Brazil, and India.
Each of those three countries recorded at least 21 000 new cases in just the last 24 hours, while the United States saw an increase in excess of 50 000 new infections amidst growing concerns that the world’s richest country is failing to contain the coronavirus spread.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Take the Johns Hopkins graphic representation of daily case rates in 20 countries that currently have the highest absolute daily number of deaths including Russia, Iran, and South Africa.
But the lines representing Brazil and the United States have a vertical inclination.
And if horizontal is good, then this is very bad as Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases explains, “We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this and 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. If you look at the graphs from Europe, Europe the EU as an entity, it went up and then came down to baseline. Now, they’re having little blips as you might expect as they try to reopen. We went up, never came down to baseline and now we’re surging back up. So, it’s a serious situation that we have to address immediately.”
With more than 720 000 cases, India which recorded a daily record in new infections this past Sunday, delays in the planned reopening of the Taj Mahal. In Brazil, the right-wing President and a brazen coronavirus skeptic Jair Bolsonaro has tested positive to COVID-19, in a country that has suffered one of the worst outbreaks anywhere.
“In my particular case, given my history of athleticism, if I was to be infected with the virus I would not have to worry. I would not feel it. It would be like a little flu or like being under the weather.”
Parties outside New York City
But it’s scenes at vacation spots and house parties outside New York City that has infuriated health experts. Young people gathered in large crowds without a care in the world. No masks, no social distancing, and no real sense.
“The last thing we need is to see this virus spike again and there are two threats in that area – one New Yorkers getting complacent. This is great. New Yorks doing great … the numbers are down. I heard the governor. He said everything is great. We get complacent; we get cocky; we get a little arrogant. That is a real threat,” says New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo.
The southern sun-belt states of Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California have slowed or backtracked on re-openings with heightened concerns that ICU bed availability is fast reaching capacity in some regions.
“When we think about the ICU bed shortage, I’m not just worried about the new COVID-19 cases coming in. I think it is a really big concern about how we may have to rush and care for other critical illnesses, especially when we know that heart disease is the leading cause of death,” says Dr. Sadi Khan, an Epidemiologist at Northwestern University.
On President Donald Trump this past weekend saying COVID-19 was totally harmless to 99% of those who get infected, Cuomo says, “Mr. President, (don’t) be a co-conspirator of COVID. Do one simple thing, and 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. If he does not acknowledge that, then he is facilitating the virus. He is enabling the virus. How did this become a political statement? This is common sense.”
And as cases surge nationwide, demand for testing has soared, creating new supply chain problems for this administration.