“We are putting ourselves in danger and other people are unwilling to do anything and in fact go the other way and act to promote the disease,” said Dr. Andrew Pastewski, medical director of the ‘The intensive care unit of the Jackson South Medical Center in Miami, told Reuters. Pastewski himself has been diagnosed with Covid-19. “It’s just disheartening,” he said.
In Texas, the number of new cases per day has doubled in two weeks, reaching more than 9,100 per day. Texas and California, the two most populous states, reported record deaths on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
In Texas, bars were closed and restaurants were forced to further reduce their capacity. Arizona has cut restaurant capacity in half. Health officials in New Mexico, who bordered the two states, halted indoor food service and closed the famous desert parks to tourists. Florida bars will close for the second time.
Many of the same states are now faced with immediate questions about how and reopening of school buildings. Students in many states of the solar belt return to school from early to mid-August. The Trump administration has increased pressure this week by threatening funding for schools that remain closed.
“We’re really not ready,” said Marcia Andrews, a member of the Palm Beach, Florida school board, to the Palm Beach Post. “We are not ready from a health standpoint. And we are not ready from a planning point of view. The neighborhood, home of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, will be hosting fully virtual classes this fall.
But with the increase in cases in 41 states, even less densely populated areas are now seeing hospitals fill up, endlessly in sight.
“Mississippi hospitals can’t care for Mississippi patients,” Mississippi health chief Thomas Dobbs said Thursday at a press conference, according to the Mississippi Free Press. He said the five largest hospitals in the state were filling up, and he and other health officials begged the public to wear masks.
“Several days we have more patients than rooms,” said Dr. LouAnn Woodward, vice-chancellor of the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
The Trump administration has largely sought to ignore the pandemic. The country’s leading infectious disease specialist, Dr. Anthony Fauci, told the Financial Times on Friday that he had not directly informed the president in two months.
“You have a random species of virus which passes from animal to human which is spectacularly effective in spreading from human to human, and has a relatively high degree of morbidity and mortality,” said Fauci at FT. “We are living in the perfect storm right now. ”
In search of the large and admiring crowd for the 2016 election, Trump had planned to hold a rally in a plane hangar in New Hampshire this weekend, before it was canceled due to bad weather. Republican state governor Chris Sununu defended the president’s right to have the rally, but said he would not participate.
“I won’t be in the crowd of thousands,” said Sununu citing health concerns this week, according to CNN. “I’m not going to put myself in the middle of a crowd of thousands of people.”
Meanwhile, local health officials believe that Trump’s last rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma likely spread Covid-19 despite its depressed attendance. The campaign anticipated a crowd overflowing from the 19,000-seat arena. According to the New York Times, approximately 6,200 people actually attended.
It remains to be seen whether the President’s plan is an effective re-election strategy. A new poll released on Friday found that 67% of Americans disapproved of Trump’s handling of the pandemic, driven by a drop in independent support and even a drop in Republicans’ confidence.