The CDC Says This Is When We'll Need Another Lockdown
According to the CDC, you should be prepared for another round of lockdowns if this happens.
Every state in the U.S. is now at least in the early stages of reopening—but that could all change soon. A handful of states have been experiencing a spike in coronavirus cases since lifting their stay-at-home orders, which could send those citizens back into quarantine again. On June 12, during a press briefing from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Jay C. Butler, the CDC's deputy director of infectious diseases, was asked whether coronavirus lockdowns would be necessary again. "If cases begin to go up again, and 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," he said.
Though Butler did not provide any specific figures for what the CDC considers a dramatic rise, he did say the decision to return to lockdown "really needs to be made locally based on what is happening within the community regarding disease transmission."
According to Butler, officials will have to closely monitor various aspects of their coronavirus numbers to gauge whether their community needs to go back into lockdown. "The most important thing is to be able to monitor what is happening in terms of people's activity, what is the degree of adherence, and then also monitoring the degree of transmission that's occurring through disease surveillance," said Butler.
Ultimately, he reiterated that although states are reopening, the pandemic is not over. And certain states are seeing that more than others.
A handful of states reopened as early as the end of April, while others only entered phase one of reopening in June. In some of the early reopened states, there has been a noticeable increase in COVID-19 cases since Memorial Day weekend. According to a CNBC analysis of recent data, the number of new coronavirus cases was 20,600 a day on May 28—the lowest number in eight weeks. Ever since, however, numbers have been on the rise. Last week, for example, multiple states—like Florida, Texas, and Oregon—saw their highest number of daily new cases ever since the pandemic began.
On June 14, Angela Rasmussen, PhD, a virologist at Columbia University's Center for Infection and Immunity, tweeted that at least four states should be going back into lockdown now: Arizona, Alabama, North Carolina, and South Carolina. "They are just the most urgent," she wrote. "Numbers are really getting worrisome in many states."
Officials in Harris County in Texas, where new cases are rising, warned that the region is approaching a need for lockdown, though that's up to the governor to decide. "I'm growing increasingly concerned that we may be reaching the precipice of a disaster," Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warned on June 11. "This week, the COVID-19 general hospital population in Harris County is the highest it has ever been. It was the highest on Monday, and it's gotten worse every day." And for the places to avoid during reopening, check out The 10 Most Dangerous Places You Can Still Get Coronavirus, Experts Say.