If you only listen to the mainstream media, you may think our country is currently heading full steam ahead into a ‘second wave’ of the coronavirus pandemic that will be just as bad as the first wave.
A recent headline from the LA Times said, “Alarming Spike in Coronavirus Sparks Fear California ‘Starting to Lose this Battle.’” Another article from Reuters was titled, “Fears of Second U.S. Coronavirus Wave Rise on Worrisome Spike in Cases.”
But while it is true that over the past two weeks, the United States has begun to experience a sudden spike in cases, that isn’t the whole story. Here’s what you may not know.
Part of the Recent Spike in Cases is Due to Increased Testing
According to one CDC official, rather than being totally due to increased spread of COVID-19, the ‘spike in cases’ narrative is due in part to increases in testing.
“Sometimes an increase [in cases] is driven by an increase in availability in testing, sometimes it is driven by outbreaks,” CDC Deputy Director of Infectious Diseases and COVID-19 Response Incident Manager Jay Butler said at a media telebriefing on June 12.
On Friday, Vice President Mike Pence echoed that point.
“It’s almost inarguable that more testing is generating more cases,” the vice president said at the Coronavirus Task Force. “We’re testing some 500,000 people per day.”
The vice president even wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal titled, “There Isn’t a Coronavirus ‘Second Wave.’”
Additionally, some have pointed out that the spike in cases may be due in part to positive antibody tests being included in the new case total. This would make it seem like we are experiencing a second wave, even though some of the cases would have been from people who had contracted COVID-19 months ago.
The Daily Citizen reached out to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to request clarification on that possibility but did not receive a response as of publishing time.
Overall Deaths Remain Near an All Time Low
Even though several states have seen an increase in new cases of coronavirus, deaths from COVID-19 remain near all time lows since the pandemic began back in March.
Indeed, according to a quick Google search, the United States has had under 1,000 deaths from COVID-19 per day since June 4. It’s thankfully a far cry from the 2,624 deaths that the United States suffered on April 21 or the 2,701 deaths on May 6.
Despite having a new high for coronavirus cases reported in a single day on June 25 with 38,853 new cases and an increasing trend of cases since June 8, deaths continue to trend downward. The United States reported 283 deaths on June 21 and 292 deaths on June 22, around 10% of the deaths per day at the peak of the first wave in early May.
Another factor in the continuing low death rate is likely due in part to the shifting demographic of those being infected with COVID-19. In March, around half of those infected with coronavirus were age 55 and older. According to more recent data, the new median for those being infected with COVID-19 is 48.
Since young people are far less likely to have severe complications from COVID-19, this shift is an encouraging trend.
The Majority of States (34) Are Not Experiencing Increases in Coronavirus Cases
Even though 16 states are currently experiencing an increase in coronavirus cases, the large majority are not.
“Thirty-Four states across the country are experiencing a measure of stability,” the vice president said at the task force briefing. “These would be states where there are either no new cases and no rising percentage (of positive tests) or no combination of those two things.”
We’re in a Much Better Place
Despite an increase in COVID-19 cases, the current availability of personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, COVID-19 tests, and antibody tests means we are far more prepared for any ‘second wave.’
The United States has billons of PPE, has produced and delivered more than 143 million N95 masks, 598 million surgical and procedural masks, 20 million eye and face shields, 265 million gowns and coveralls and 14 billion gloves. The United States also has 30,000 ventilators in the Strategic National Stockpile and is on track to build 100,000 total ventilators.
“There may be a tendency among the American people to think that we are back to that place that we were two months ago, that we’re in a time of great losses and great hardship on the American people. The reality is we’re in a much better place,” the vice president said Friday.
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