The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has threatened that another US lockdown will be on the cards if coronavirus cases spike, at the agency’s first briefing in three months after it was sidelined when the pandemic began.
‘If cases begin to go up again, particularly if they go up dramatically, it’s important to recognize that more mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again,’ the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Jay Butler, warned in a press briefing Friday. Fears are mounting that several states embarked on reopening their economies too early, with a renewed spike in cases recorded in Texas, Florida and Arizona.
Experts are warning that the surge in such states is still the first - and not a second - wave of the virus that never truly went away.
CDC officials issued the grave warning Friday that the US could be headed for a second lockdown, after the first plunged the economy into a recession and sparked historic levels of unemployment across the nation.
‘Right now, communities are experiencing different levels of transmission occurring, as they gradually ease up onto the community mitigation efforts and gradually reopen,’ said Butler.
The ‘pandemic is not over’, he added, and so states may need to reimplement the strict measures that were put in place back in March if cases rise ‘dramatically’.
However, decisions will be made on a local level, he added.
It is not clear what the CDC classes as a ‘dramatic rise’ but the warning comes as several of the states that were first to relax stay-at-home orders are recording a surge in cases of the deadly virus.
At least 23 states are seeing spikes in the number of infections when looking at a seven-day average of daily new cases and around 20,000 new infections are still being recorded every day across America.
Texas was one of the first to reopen for business, bowing to pressure from anti-lockdown protesters and bringing its stay-at-home order to an end on April 30. This week, Texas reported a record-breaking number of new cases in a single day on Tuesday, just one week after the state entered phase three of its reopening plan.
A staggering 2,504 new cases were recorded Tuesday, surpassing its previous single-day record of 1,949 on May 31.
The state also reported a series of record hospitalisations.
Meanwhile Arizona’s health department has warned hospitals to activate coronavirus emergency plans to prepare for a surge in new cases, as the state tackles a surge in cases and hospitalisations.
US, (Daily Mail),13 June 2020