This week, another grim milestone, as the U.S. hit 2 million cases of the coronavirus.
In spite of the news, hard-hit New York has seen its case total drop, and medical professionals continue to learn more about the virus.
“We know that it can present in many different ways, initially it was always just fever and cough,” said Neysa Ernst, nurse manager for Johns Hopkins Biocontainment Unit. “Now you’re seeing diarrhea, now you’re seeing the muscle aches.”
The U.S. is decidedly in reopening mode, and some localities have been for quite some time, some with officials’ approval and some without.
“[The stay-at-home-order is] eliminating any way for us to bring any income in not only for ourselves but for our 16 employees. I have two businesses,” an Arizona business owner told Newsy sister station ABC15 on May 1. The owner had chosen to reopen her business despite the governor’s guidance.
Less than a month later, after unequal enforcement of stay-at-home orders, more Arizona restaurants and bars went ahead with reopening. On May 12, the state’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, declared Arizona was “clearly on the other side of this pandemic.”
“We’re seeing a lot of incredibly ill individuals with COVID,” Dr. Marjorie Bessel, chief clinical officer for Banner Health, announced at a press conference last week.
In June, the state has seen a major spike in cases, with one major hospital saying it's moving to a surge plan and increasing bed capacity to 125%.
“If the increasing trend continues ... we will exceed our capacity,” Bessel told reporters.
In several states, new daily case numbers are hitting all-time peaks in June.
In Texas, hospitalizations have hit a new high, and as part of the state’s ongoing Phase 3 of reopening, restaurants are allowed to reopen up to 75% of their indoor capacity on Friday. Last month, Texas beaches were crowded for the Memorial Day holiday.
Protests across the nation over the past few weeks related to the death of George Floyd have also led to huge gatherings.
Though discernible spikes haven’t yet been detected in Minneapolis, New York and Washington, D.C., health experts are still holding their breath.
“I don't know why there haven't been the big spikes that we, again, saw after Easter and built around those communal types of events,” Ernst said.