The number of new cases of COVID-19 in the United States has reached this week heights comparable to the worst of the first phase, in April. The geography, politics, and the relaxation behaviors explain the rebound.
What are the facts?
Unlike Europe, the United States are never completely back down from their “peak”: the first wave, which began with a little delay compared to Europe, that never ends. In April, the daily number of new confirmed cases has exceeded 30 000, then the figure has stabilised at around 20 000 per day in may, before rising back above 30 000 for several days.
By comparison, the european Union, after having experienced a peak close to that of the United States, records today there are about 4000 new cases per day.
The figure american global hides in reality two trends: in the cities struck first, as early as march (and so not detected as early as February), mainly in the North-East and New York, the coronavirus is under control and the curve of infections similar to that observed in Europe.
But another part of the country was taken over in June: the South and the West, in States such as Arizona, Florida, Texas, but also California, which had imposed a containment early in a pandemic.
The Americans looking at the measures barriers?
That depends on the places.
Wearing a mask in public, and the distancing physics are part of the formal direction, but without being mandatory in most of the jurisdictions that are currently experiencing a rise in contagious diseases, these guidelines are not met, and the open face is the norm in the street.
Conversely, in cities such as Washington, on the east coast, the majority of people wear masks and stand at a distance, even outdoors and in the parks.
The geographic gap is double that of a policy gap, since the Southern States are generally governed by members of the republican party, such as Donald Trump, which has minimized the pandemic, and encouraged the déconfinement fast.
But attitudes are changing: the governor of Texas, which has started to reopen early, on the 1st of may, on Thursday called on the good behavior of his people: “I call on all Texans to play their role to limit contagious diseases by washing hands regularly, wearing a mask and practicing the distancing physical.”
The best screening is it the cause?
Probably not entirely. It is true that the largest number of tests performed leads to detect more cases, many of them mild, in April, would not have been registered because there was at that time a shortage of tests.
But the increase in the number of cases is in some places more rapidly than the number of tests, which accredits the idea of a reboot of the regional epidemic. In Florida, there has even been a recent reduction in testing and an increase in cases.
Other evidence: the increase in the number of hospitalizations in several States (Arizona, Texas, and more moderately in California). Data from hospitalizations are not available everywhere.
The other indicator that is disturbing is the number of deaths per day due to the COVID-19. The good news was that he fell in the last two months, but it seems to be stabilizing on a plateau.
The rebound, from mid-June, would be a reboot of the contagions from the end of may, given the delay of several weeks between contamination and the decision of the people to do a test after the onset of symptoms.
The epidemic is “getting younger-it”?
Yes, according to the Centers for control and prevention of diseases (CDC), analyzed by researchers from the school of global public health from Harvard.
Less than 65 years old represent 82% of positive cases as of may 31, according to Thomas Tsai from 63% as at 1 march.
This evolution is generational in the contagions would have to be confirmed rigorously, but it would be consistent with the desire of Americans to be less vulnerable to return to a “normal” life. The epidemiologists will also monitor the effect on the pandemic of major events, anti-racism started after the death of George Floyd on may 25.