Two weeks after mass demonstrations across the country in protest of police brutality began and with states beginning to loosen stay-at-home orders and restrictions on businesses in an attempt to ‘reopen’, 19 states have seen spikes in COVID-19 cases as hotspots blossom in the US territory Puerto Rico, all pacific states and states adjacent to them — as well as Hawaii, Alaska, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, Montana, Florida, the Carolinas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Missouri and Vermont — ABC News reports. Among them, all states besides California, Washington, Montana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and North Carolina, where the density of urban centers and precious initiatives to reopen have already caused these large spikes to be observed, have reported an increase of 25% or higher.
There are a number of conclusions to be drawn from this, the most notable that as cases surge in hot climates like New Mexico and Texas, it appears that unlike the flu, there will be no summer lull in COVID-19 cases due to a susceptibility to high temperatures. This will mean that summer gatherings will not experience any less risk for infection and readers should continue their due diligence in social distancing.
A notable exception to the recent spikes is Georgia, where the infection curve has remained relatively flat despite the state beginning to reopen to great criticism almost six weeks ago, and predictions say it may begin to trend downwards. Jeffrey Shaman, professor of environmental health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, says this may be because of great personal responsibility in following social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and hygiene, despite a lack of enforcing authority. He speculates this may be behind the declining trends in New York and Chicago, where recent protests demonstrate a virtually ubiquitous wearing of masks and other preventive measures among the populace, compared to much more spotty consistency in other parts of the country. This has demonstrated again that in overcoming this crisis — which seems to take no breaks in its continued spread — safety can come not only at the individual level through following pandemic guidelines from above, but at the community level, allowing life to continue on the basis of respected trust in the diligence of others. Nevertheless, many suggest that the aforementioned disorder of late that led to these spikes shows how increasingly rare this valuable social resource actually is.