A CDC Official Just Issued This Stark Warning Amid Reopening
Is the coronavirus pandemic nearing its end? Not by a long shot, experts warn.
At this point, every state in the U.S. has reopened somewhat. While some are still in the early phases of reopening (like New York and New Jersey), other states (like Alaska) are basically back to life pre-pandemic. But with coronavirus numbers starting to spike again, Jay Butler, MD, the head of the COVID-19 response efforts for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has issued a stark warning to all Americans: "We are still in a pandemic."
Butler's warning comes after several states that reopened early started seeing significant spikes in cases—including Minnesota, Virginia, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. As a result, these numbers are creating grave concern that hospitals are close to being overwhelmed again.
Butler told NBC News that many people across the U.S. are still high risk for COVID-19 and, as long as there is a readily transmissible virus, and a population with little or no immunity to it, many are still vulnerable to the disease. "We're out of the normal respiratory virus season," Butler told NBC News. But, he added: "This being a pandemic virus, we have to be ready for the fact that transmission may increase again, even during the summer."
The total number of coronavirus cases in the United States has now reached over 2 million, and U.S. deaths are roughly 115,000. Recent projections of total deaths have been updated to almost 170,00o by October 1, an increase that has come, in part, due to the reopening from lockdown in many states in May. Butler warns that the increase in cases is just the "tip of an iceberg," adding that many people who are infected never receive an official diagnosis.
Similarly, Anthony Fauci, MD, the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic has been his "worst nightmare" during a recorded message as part of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization International Convention. "It just took over the planet," Fauci added, "And it isn't over yet."
The regional reopening was designed for states and local municipalities to manage their domain in a manner that best suited their constituents. After all, largely rural areas have different needs than densely populated ones. But it has also led to predictable debates over public health practices, and sadly, a rise in cases in a number of states.
As a result, the CDC wants you to know that the fight against the coronavirus is far from over. So keep your distance, wear a mask, and wash your hands if you want to help avoid a second wave that's worse than the first. And for more on that, check out Here's When the Second Wave of Coronavirus Is Coming, Doctors Warn.