(Reuters), 12 June, 2020 -
About half a dozen states including Texas and Arizona are grappling with a rising number of coronavirus patients filling hospital beds, fanning concerns that the reopening of the U.S. economy may spark a second wave of infections.
The rally in global stocks came crashing down on Thursday over worries of a pandemic resurgence. The last time the S&P 500 and Dow fell as much in one day was in March, when U.S. coronavirus cases began surging.
A recent spike in cases in about a dozen states partially reflects increased testing. But many of those states are also seeing rising hospitalizations and some are beginning to run short on intensive care unit (ICU) beds.
Texas has seen record hospitalizations for three days in a row, and in North Carolina only 13% of the state’s ICU beds are available due to severe COVID-19 cases. Houston’s mayor said the city was ready to turn its NFL stadium into a make-shift hospital if necessary.
Arizona has seen a record number of hospitalizations at 1,291. The state health director told hospitals this week to activate emergency plans and increase ICU capacity. About three-quarters of the state’s ICU beds are filled, according to the state website (here).
“You’re really crossing a threshold in Arizona,” said Jared Baeten, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington. “The alarming thing would be if the numbers start to rise in places that have clearly already peaked and are on their downtrend,” he said, referring to New York and other Northeastern states where new cases and deaths have plummeted.