Dr. Fauci Is Most Worried About These 4 States
Rising COVID positivity rates in these states are a "surefire sign" of a potential surge, Fauci says.
While the rapid rise of coronavirus cases in the United States in recent weeks has been tied to the southern and western regions of the country, that's all about to change. Just a few weeks ago, states like Florida, Texas, Arizona, and California were identified as the new epicenters of the pandemic, but according to Anthony Fauci, MD, cases in those states "may be cresting and coming back down."
In an interview with ABC's Good Morning America on July 28, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director told anchor George Stephanopoulos that he has shifted his concern to handful of states primarily in the Midwest. Fauci stated that he sees a "very early indication" of rising positive test rates in several states in the region, which he said is a "surefire sign that you've got to be really careful."
Fauci did, however, express a measured confidence that major surges like the ones seen recently in other states could be prevented if proper precautions are taken by individuals, as well as state officials overseeing the reopening process. "I think we can prevent the surges that we've seen in the southern states, because we just can't afford, yet again, another surge," he said. Read on to see which states Fauci has his eye on. And for more potential COVID hotspots in the U.S., check out These 6 States Are "Heading in the Wrong Direction," Harvard Doctor Says.
According to official data from the Ohio Department of Health, positive test rates have been steadily increasing in the Buckeye State since about the middle of June. The data shows that the seven-day average of coronavirus tests that came back positive was at a low of 3.8 percent on June 14. Since then the rate has increased slowly, reaching a high of 6.4 percent on July 13. As of July 26, the seven-day average rate was still up at 6.3 percent.
Columbus Public Health Commissioner Mysheika Roberts, MD, told The Columbus Dispatch that in a meeting with White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator Deborah Birx, MD, on Saturday, Birx expressed her concern that Columbus was at risk of becoming one of the country's next hotspot cities. And for more areas of the country causing the federal government to worry, check out The White House Is Trying to Stop These 5 States From Becoming Hotspots.
Just west of Ohio, the state of Indiana is also showing a high positive test rate, according to The New York Times. Using data collected from the COVID Tracking Project, The Times reports that the two-week average positive test rate is 8 percent in Indiana, well above the 5 percent benchmark identified by World Health Organization (WHO). And according to the Indiana Department of Health, the state saw 1,002 positive test results on July 23, the most it has reported during the entire pandemic.
In Kentucky, the COVID spread has become so significant that state officials have taken recent action to reverse certain previously executed reopening plans. According to the Louisville Courier Journal, Gov. Andy Beshear made a statement on July 27 ordering that all bars close and that all restaurants reduce seating capacity to 25 percent. The move, which was in response to the rapid spike in cases seen since June, goes into effect at midnight on July 28 and will last two weeks.
Also in his statement, Beshear said that there were 522 new coronavirus cases reported on Monday, bringing the state's total to 27,601 and raising the seven-day positivity rate to 5.58 percent, the Courier Journal reports. And for more changes that've come this week, check out The CDC Just Changed This One Major Coronavirus Guideline.
Though Tennessee has been identified as an area of concern by Fauci, as well as Birx, the state has so far remained resistant to taking the measures recommended by health experts to contain the outbreak. According to CBS News, after meeting with Birx on July 28 to discuss a plan for getting the state back on track and curbing the spread of COVID-19, Gov. Bill Lee said he would not shut down the state's economy by closing bars and restricting restaurants. Lee also said he had no plans to issue a statewide mask mandate.
According the latest data from The New York Times, at least 10 new coronavirus deaths and 2,539 new cases were reported in Tennessee on July 27. In addition, for the past week, the state saw an average of about 2,275 cases per day—an increase of 32 percent from the average two weeks earlier, The Times reports. As of July 28, there have been 93,869 recorded COVID cases and 965 deaths in Tennessee since the beginning of the pandemic. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.