5 States That Are "Losing Control" of Coronavirus, Doctor Says
Things are looking dire in these states as case numbers spike and hospital beds run short.
As states around the country continue with their reopening plans, certain areas are reporting decreases in COVID-19 cases. Even New York City, once the epicenter of the pandemic, announced it would be entering phase two of its reopening plan next week. But other states are not experiencing such success. Some are seeing record-breaking high levels of new coronavirus cases, and according to experts, five states in particular are on the verge of disaster.
"They're on the cusp of losing control of those outbreaks … The question is 'can we keep this from getting out of control,'" Scott Gottlieb, MD, former Food and Drug Commissioner, told CNBC's Squawk Box. "These states still have a week or two to take action to get things under control." According to recent figures, these are the states that Gottlieb and other experts fear could slip into coronavirus chaos. And for more on COVID-19 hot spots, check out 6 States Where Coronavirus Numbers Are Spiking.
The Lone Star State was one of the first to begin reopening businesses with minimal requirements for health guidelines. It also reported a record-breaking high number of hospitalizations earlier this week, topping their previous highest number for the sixth time in seven days, CNBC reports.
Unfortunately, the figures only get worse from there: The most recent numbers show hospitalizations again broke records on Wednesday, June 18, jumping 11 percent in just one day. And it's not just affecting the people you might expect, either: As Gottlieb told CNBC, "A quarter of all hospitalizations [in Texas] are between the ages of 20 and 29. In the counties around Austin, a majority of the cases being diagnosed are under the age of 30." And for more on this, check out The Surprising Group of People Behind a Huge Number of New COVID-19 Cases.
Just last week, CNBC reported that Arkansas had posted their single highest daily jump of coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic with a 6.8 percent leap. But despite these record-breaking numbers, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a press conference that he wouldn't be enacting or enforcing any of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) recommended guidelines, such as face mask mandates for citizens. "I don't see that what we're doing is not working. We might not be doing it well enough. I think the strategy is the right strategy," Hutchinson said. And for more on a place that has succeeded against the pandemic, check out How the State With the First Major Outbreak Contained Coronavirus.
No matter how you look at the numbers, coronavirus is on the rise in Arizona. After seeing a massive surge last week, the state posted its highest single-day increase of COVID-19 cases on Thursday, June 18, with 2,519 new diagnoses reported. But unlike Arkansas, Gov. Doug Ducey decided to allow local governments to make face masks mandatory, prompting the mayors of Tucson, Phoenix, and other cities to declare they would quickly enact such requirements. And for more mask rules, check out The 10 States With the Strictest Face Mask Laws.
According to Don Williamson, MD, the head of the Alabama State Hospital Association, Alabama hasn't seen 14 straight days of declines in case numbers. As a result, he told ABC News that he has "yet to see" any indication the health situation in the state is improving. "I am very concerned about what this means for us going forward," he said. "Unless something changes, we're very likely to see ongoing transmission through the summer."
Williamson reported that hospitals across the state are now hitting their worst "trifecta" since the pandemic began: They've seen 1) the highest number of new hospitalizations in one day, 2) the highest total number of hospitalized patients, and 3) the lowest ICU capacity to date. In Montgomery County, which has been hit the worst, "ICUs are full, patients are dying, and some of the staff that are normally working are out ill," Williamson said. Though some hospitals can temporarily convert some of their beds into ICU units, he still warned that just one major outbreak could potentially "overwhelm the system." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Things are not looking very sunny in the Sunshine State when it comes to coronavirus. After surging COVID-19 cases put Miami's reopening on hold earlier in the week, record-breaking diagnoses and hospitalization numbers have some experts saying Florida has "all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission," according to CNN. The outlet reports the state is at risk to become the "worst it has ever been."
As a result, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is even considering ordering a 14-day quarantine for all travelers arriving to the Empire State from Florida. And for more on places not making progress on reopening, These 5 States Are Headed for Another Lockdown, Virologist Says.