Get out of the equation New York metropolitan area progress against coronavirus and the numbers show the rest of the United States is going in the wrong direction, with the known infection rate increasing even as states rise to block their locks, according to an analysis by Associated Press Tuesday.
New confirmed infections per day in the United States exceed 20,000, and deaths per day greatly exceed 1,000, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. And public health officials warn that failing to flatten the curve and lowering the infection rate in some places could lead to many deaths – perhaps tens of thousands – while people are allowed to go out and have businesses reopen.
“Make no mistake: this virus is still circulating in our community, perhaps even more now than in previous weeks,” said Linda Ochs, director of the health department for Shawnee County, Kansas.
Elsewhere in the world, the official death toll from coronaviruses in Britain, at over 29,000, has surpassed that of Italy to become the highest in Europe and second in the world behind the United States. The official death toll worldwide has exceeded a quarter of a million, according to the Johns Hopkins account, although the true toll would be much higher.
The densely populated New York metropolitan area, made up of approximately 20 million people in an area that encompasses the city’s northern suburbs, Long Island and northern New Jersey, was the hardest hit corner of the country, representing at least a third of the nation’s 70,000 dead.
When the still locked area is included, new infections in the United States appear to be decreasing, according to AP analysis. He found that the five-day moving average for new cases fell from 9.3 per 100,000 people three weeks ago on April 13 to 8.6 Monday.
But removing the New York area from analysis changes the story. Otherwise, the rate of new cases in the United States increased over the same period, from 6.2 per 100,000 people to 7.5.
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While the daily number of new deaths in the New York area has dropped significantly in the past few weeks, it has essentially plateaued in the rest of the United States. Excluding New York, the five-day moving average of new deaths per 500,000 people edged down from 1.86. April 20 to 1.82 Monday.
In the United States, testing for the virus has been expanded, which has likely contributed to the increased rate of confirmed infections. But that doesn’t explain the entire increase, said Dr. Zuo-Feng Zhang, a public health researcher at the University of California in Los Angeles.
“This increase is not due to the tests. This is a real increase, “he said.
Pockets of America away from New York are seeing disturbing trends.
The death toll in Iowa reached a new high of 19 on Tuesday, and 730 workers at a single pork plant at Tyson Foods were positive. On Monday, Shawnee County, which is home to Topeka, Kansas, reported doubling of cases from last week, the same day that trade restrictions began to ease.
Gallup, New Mexico, is under strict ban until Thursday due to an epidemic, with roadblocks manned to prevent entry and exit and the prohibition of more than two people in a vehicle. Authorities have deployed tanker trucks, hospital space is short, and a high school gymnasium is now a recovery center with 60 oxygen-supplied beds.
On Monday, a University of Washington model nearly doubled its projection of COVID-19 deaths in the United States to about 134,000 until early August, with a range from 95,000 to almost 243,000.
Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the institute that created the projections, said the increase is mainly due to the fact that most states are expected to ease the restrictions by next week.
Without home orders and similar measures, Murray said, “We would have experienced exponential growth, far greater epidemics and staggering deaths.” But cooperation is waning, with cellphone location data showing that people are going out more, even before their states reopen, he said.
President Donald Trump, asked about the screenings before traveling to Arizona to visit a mask factory, questioned the accuracy of the models in general and said that closing the economy was deadly, such as drug abuse and suicide.
“We have to open our country,” said Trump.
A top US government scientist said on Tuesday in a whistleblower complaint that the administration had failed to prepare for the coronavirus attack. Dr. Rick Bright also said he had been reassigned to a lesser role because he was resisting political pressure to allow widespread use of hydroxychloroquine, an unproven malaria drug for the treatment of COVID-19, which was pushed by Trump.
The Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that it had been transferred to the National Institutes of Health to work on coronavirus testing, a crucial mission.
UCLA researcher Zhang said he was concerned that the rate of new cases is increasing as some states slow down: “We are one country. If we do not progress in the same stage, we will have a problem. “
He expressed particular concern over Florida and Texas, where cases are steadily increasing and the potential for explosions appears high.
As death rates in some places tend to drop, this could change and hospitals could be overwhelmed, he said.
Dr. Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House Coronavirus task force, said that she and her colleagues constantly warn governors to “skip phases” in federal guidelines recommending that businesses and other institutions, such as schools , be reopened in phases.
“We don’t want to see serious illnesses and mortality increase,” said Birx.
In Europe, Britain has reported that around 29,400 people with COVID-19 have died in its hospitals, nursing homes and other facilities, while Italy has reported just over 29,300 confirmed deaths.
Both counts are probably underestimated because they do not include suspect cases. Britain has reported more than 32,000 deaths in which COVID-19 has been confirmed or suspected; a comparable figure for Italy was not available.
Despite this, the rate of deaths and hospitalizations in Britain is falling and the government is preparing to loosen its lockdown.
A trial has started on a mobile phone app that UK officials say will help contain the epidemic by warning people if they have been around someone who has been infected; it could be deployed later this month.
Many European countries that relaxed tight closings after the gradual disappearance of new infections were watching their virus numbers with caution.
“We know with great certainty that there will be a second wave – the majority of scientists are sure of it. And many also believe there will be a third wave, “said Lothar Wieler, head of the National Center for Disease Control in Germany.
South Korea reported two new cases on Wednesday, its lowest daily total since February, and the country’s baseball season started the day before with no spectators allowed.
Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.
Follow coverage of the PA pandemic at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak
The Associated Press’s Department of Health and Science is supported by the Department of Science Education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.