New cases of COVID-19 are no longer making news every day, thanks to the fact that the much-discussed “curve” flattened. However, as restrictions start easing the number of cases is on the rise again. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. had the largest jump in daily cases in the world—a 36.5% increase in a single day. Data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency confirmed the figure. Worse, average deaths per day are also increasing again (now up over 1,000 per day in this country). Texas, which has gotten a lot of attention both for its reopening efforts but also because of the number of Texans who have flouted social distancing recommendations, set a record for COVID-19-related hospitalizations for 3 days in a row this month. North Carolina reported a statewide high during the same period. Protests related to the death of George Floyd in police custody may also be fueling a surge in cases, according to The New York Times. At the same time, a study by researchers at Cambridge and Greenwich Universities in London say a second full-scale pandemic can probably be avoided through population-wide face mask use. Even homemade masks can “dramatically reduce transmission rates” if enough people wear them in public, they wrote in Proceedings of the Royal Society A. So, when urgent care patients ask about the prospects for near-term spread of the disease, suggest they keep wearing a mask in public and maintain the same strict hygiene practices that have been promoted since the virus started to spread in the U.S.
Be Prepared: As States Reopen, COVID-19 Cases Are Already Climbing