These 2 States Are Seeing "Troubling Signs" of COVID Surges, Officials Say
Both Kentucky and Kansas saw their new COVID cases spike this week, bucking the national trend.
For many hard-hit parts of the country, August marked the first stretch of good news in terms of coronavirus. Newly reported cases have been decreasing nationally for five straight weeks, with former hotspots such as Arizona showing so much improvement that it now has the lowest infection rate in the country. But other areas of the U.S. are bucking the national trend, especially in the heartland. In fact, Kansas and Kentucky are currently seeing "troubling signs" of awful COVID outbreaks, with officials in both states sounding the alarm, CNN repots.
Recent figures show that both Kansas and Kentucky are on a worrisome trajectory, with the former seeing a 19 percent increase in its average daily new cases, up to 491, and the latter showing a 5 percent increase to 635 daily new cases, according to The New York Times. The governors of both Kansas and Kentucky have cited a need to stay focused on protocols that keep COVID surges in check.
In a press conference on Aug. 24, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said that the state's infection rate "continues an alarming trend in the wrong direction." She also reported that reopenings of college campuses had created spikes at at least six universities statewide, summarizing the situation in Kansas by saying, "We had a bad week" in terms of coronavirus.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear shared similar sentiments during a separate press conference on the same day, saying that the state is seeing "troubling signs" and finds itself at "the same moment that Kentucky was at in the beginning of the summer." He also expressed concern with the state's High School Athletic Association's decision to go ahead with high contact sports such as football. "If we're going to defeat this virus, we need people other than me all over Kentucky taking responsibility to make good and wise decisions," he told reporters.
The virus' move into Middle America is something experts have been warning about for weeks. In late July, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Anthony Fauci, MD, said Middle America needs to keep things in check before they spiral out of control. "What we're seeing now is what actually took place a couple of weeks ago. And what we're going to see a couple of weeks from now, is what we're doing now," he told MSNBC.
Similarly, during a live YouTube discussion hosted by the JAMA Network, Robert Redfield, MD, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), spoke about the COVID situation in the heartland. "I will say there's a warning sign that we all have tried to put out there … that we're starting to see," he said. "In the 'red zone' areas, [cases] are falling. But if you look at those states that are in what's called the 'yellow zone,' that are between 5 and 10 percent [positive test rates], they're not falling. So, Middle America right now is getting stuck. And this is why it's so important for Middle America to recognize the mitigation steps that we talk about: about masks, social distancing, hand washing, closing bars, being smart about crowds." And for more on how coronavirus could be on the move, check out This One Event May Have Spread COVID to 60 Percent of U.S. Counties.