Why the pandemic abates not in the United States as in Europe

Pourquoi la pandémie ne reflue pas aux États-Unis comme en Europe

The curve of the coronavirus falls in Europe, but the United States are blocked for two months on a ” plateau “, a sign, according to experts, that the us epidemic in cache more, managed in different ways according to regions and according to their political affinities.

Two epidemics

With 30 000 new cases detected per day in April and more than 20,000 since the beginning of may, the United States has stagnated, as a part of the country has taken over the other.

“We have not acted fast enough and strong to prevent the virus from spreading to the departure, and it was apparently moved to the former homes in other urban and rural areas,” said Tom Frieden, the former director of the Centres for prevention and disease control (CDC).

There is a side of five North-eastern States, from New Jersey to Massachusetts with New York in the middle, where half the u.s. deaths of the Covid-19 have been recorded. This region, large as a european country, has largely been engaged in the descent, New York has 2600 people in hospital, compared with 19 000 in mid-April, according to the governor.

These States, labeled vivid, have also been the most cautious in the déconfinement. The masks are ubiquitous. The reopening of New York began Monday, the restaurants remain closed.

Conversely, the less developed areas, the Midwest, the South and parts of the West have not experienced the bottlenecks to emergency rooms and morgues. These States have ordered the containment later and have raised earlier. It is here that today the virus has been circulating the most.

A policy gap

The politicization of the pandemic has reinforced the phenomenon: the governors of the States ” red “, that is to say, the republicans, have tended to minimize the risk, such as the president, Donald Trump.

“The Statements in blue are more applied than the redder States to practice re-safe,” said Sten Vermund, dean of the school of public health at Yale university, who adds that ideologically, ” most Americans do not like to be told what to do.”

In Georgia, in Florida, in Texas, we see little masked people, including in restaurants and stores, even among the employees.

In Texas and North Carolina, there are currently more than sick of the Covid-19 hospitalized only a month ago.

South Carolina is also the “worst” of its epidemic now, ” says Melissa Nolan, a professor of epidemiology at the university of South Carolina, in noting foci of infection in marginalized populations such as hispanic workers.

The data of mobile phones confirm that the separation physical is variously respected: at the height of the containment, the displacement of the inhabitants of New York or Washington, have declined by nearly 90% during several weeks, compared to 50% or less in many areas of the South, according to the company Unacast.

Not enough tests

With half a million tests performed per day, the United States became world champions of the screening, per capita. But this is not enough yet to stem the virus, said Jennifer Nuzzo of the university Johns Hopkins, because the us epidemic was much greater than elsewhere.

“We do not detect all infections “, insists the expert.

Only 14% of american tests are positive, compared to less than 5% in Europe: in other words, the United States are missing still a lot of asymptomatic cases, which continue to contaminate friends and neighbors.

The screening is not an end in itself, ” says Jennifer Nuzzo: the tests must be accompanied immediately by an isolation and tracing of contacts. However, the déconfinement began before these procedures are ready.

Mysteries of the virus

The picture is not entirely bleak: in many places, like Arizona, the greater availability of testing has increased the number of cases detected, but these are apparently mostly mild cases.

Georgia has re-opened very soon, end of April, raising fears the worst… But the resurgence has not occurred for a long time, the number of cases stagnant throughout the month of may, before rising in recent days, illustrating how the mechanics of the coronavirus remains a mystery.

“All my friends are confused,” says William Schaffner, infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt university.

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