These Are the 4 New Epicenters of the Pandemic, Former FDA Chief Says
Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, warns of the spread from four COVID epicenters.
At one point, New York City was the clear epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. But despite a staggering number of cases, the city has largely managed to contain the outbreak. Meanwhile, COVID-19 continues to surge in states across the country, with rapidly rising case numbers, hospitalizations, and positive test rates. With so many simultaneous spikes, it can be difficult to know where to focus our attention. Appearing on CBS News' Face the Nation on July 5, former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, identified four new epicenters of the pandemic.
"We're right back where we were at the peak of the epidemic during the New York outbreak," Gottlieb told CBS News' Margaret Brennan. "The difference now is that we really had one epicenter of spread when New York was going through its hardship, now we really have four major epicenters of spread." These are the areas Gottlieb is most concerned about. And for a look at where numbers are improving, These Are the Only Two States Where COVID-19 Cases Are Going Down.
While Gottlieb mentioned three other states as new epicenters, he singled out the city of Los Angeles by name. That's because the situation is particularly dire in L.A. County, which hit a record for new single-day cases on July 3, according to the Los Angeles Times. Hospitalizations in the county have also risen 41 percent over the last three weeks.
California as a whole is not faring much better, with Gov. Gavin Newsom taking drastic measures to try to slow the rapid rise of coronavirus cases in the state. As of July 6, The New York Times reports around 114,900 COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles, with about 3,485 deaths. And for more insight from Gottlieb, "We Need to Accept That We're in the Second Wave," Former FDA Chief Says.
Gottlieb cited "cities in Texas" as another of the four new epicenters. Hospitalizations in the state have reached a critical point, with two counties urging residents to "shelter in place" due to a limited number of ICU beds remaining. The experts at Covid Act Now note that Texas has a high infection rate (the number of people the average sick person will infect) of 1.24, and a high positive test rate of 14.5 percent. There are currently almost 200,140 coronavirus cases in the state, and there have been around 2,665 deaths. And for more states struggling to slow the spread, These 4 States Just Made Face Masks Mandatory.
While Gottlieb called out "cities in Florida," he's not the first to identify the state as a new epicenter for the pandemic in the U.S. In fact, experts were sounding the alarm about Florida's status as the next coronavirus epicenter in June. Things have only gotten worse in the state since then. Florida is at a "critical" risk level per Covid Act Now, thanks in large part to a positive test rate of nearly 18 percent, and an infection rate of 1.35, meaning the virus is spreading rapidly. Florida currently has over 200,100 COVID-19 cases, and about 3,730 deaths. And for more states in the red, These 6 States Are Now in "Critical" COVID-19 Situations, Experts Say.
Arizona is the fourth state Gottlieb called a new pandemic epicenter, and with good reason. The state has the highest positive test rate in the country—it has now reached 25.6 percent. That's one of the reasons Covid Act Now puts Arizona in the "critical" category, but they also cite the high infection rate (1.18) and the lack of available ICU beds. Hospitalizations in the state have risen so quickly that Arizona is now scoring patients to determine who will get COVID care. As of July 6, there are more than 98,125 coronavirus cases in the state, with about 1,830 deaths. And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.