New infections of the COVID-19 Coronavirus infections topped 50,000 in the United States for the first time Wednesday after a 50 percent rise in June led by states that began reopening businesses and activities first across the nation.
Led by rapid increases in the South and Southwest, more than 52,000 new cases and 110 new deaths were added to the total of more than 2.6 million cases in the U.S,
Nearby North Carolina joined five other states in setting new daily records of infections Wednesday. The other five were California, Georgia, Texas, Alaska and Arizona.
President Donald Trump said he hopes the virus “will fade away on its own.”
“I think we are going to be very good with the coronavirus,” Trump said in a Fox Business interview. “I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”
Health experts disagree and their forecasts have been far more accurate than the ones coming out of the White House. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate daily cases could top 100,000 if more drastic steps are not taken.
Even in rural Floyd County, another new case was added Wednesday to bring the total to 18 with four coming in just over a week’s time. In adjacent Franklin County, the case count rose from 54 to 88 in the last six days. Roanoke’s cases rose from 343 to 489 in just this past week.
“We are having people coming back from vacation. It’s almost exclusively that,” Nancy Bell, population health manager for the West Piedmont Health District, told the Roanoke Times Wednesday.
Most of those vacationers, she adds, went to Myrtle Beach, a virus “hot spot” here thousands of new cases have occurred.
Beaches have become “hot spots” up and down both the East and West coasts, health officials say, and anyone who have been to one should, at the very least, self-quarantine themselves for at least 14 days and seek medial attention if they start showing signs of the virus.
Many of those who might have contracted the virus may not show symptoms but can pass it on to others who could suffer more symptoms and possibly die, health officials warn. Tests are encouraged, especially for those who have visited high risk areas like beaches, bars or events.
Virginia entered Phase 3 of Gov. Ralph Northam’s recovery plan Wednesday, but he rolled back openings of enclosed bars because they have become high risk locations in other states. Roanoke, however, has found increased virus infections traced back to restaurants. Indoor dining is allowed, but masks are required, along with social distancing.
While the governor seems intent to increasing more areas of risk, 45 states report higher seven-day averages and many are re-closing restaurants, bars and other business locations to try to reduce the areas of infections.
“Indoor dining has shown that it’s been problematic. We want to study this issue primarily New York City on indoor dining,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo said this week as he ordered restaurants to close again.
“We have seen spikes in other states driven in part by the return of patrons to indoor dining establishments where they are seated and without face coverings for significant periods of time,” said New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy this week when he delayed reopening of restaurants.
Many health experts say social distancing of six feet sounds good but is not sufficient.
“There’s nothing magical about six feet,” Ryan Malosh, infectious disease epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health tells MarketWatch. “That’s about that average distance respiratory droplets can travel, so being further apart from people is always better.”
With most 4th of July celebrations — including the fireworks show in Floyd — canceled this year, the advice by most health experts is “stay safe by celebrating Indepence Day at home.”
“Please don’t mix households, even if you think everyone is healthy, and instead celebrate the holiday with the people you live with,” says Dr. Cameron Kaiser, public health officer in Riverside, Calif. in a written statement. “We started seeing more and more cases after Memorial Day, and we can’t afford another jump after the Fourth of July.”