Believe it or not we are still in the first wave of Covid-19! Many states have reopened in June and are now experiencing a resurgence of number of cases. I will be covering why this is occurring and what to expect in the future.
- Comparing restriction levels to number of cases.
- Addressing controversy behind face masks.
Number of New Cases Since Reopening Began
In my previous article, I covered the beginning of the reopening process of many states. Many of them started reopening as early as April during the peak of the outbreak. I noted that it would be interesting to track this data and see how it would progress over time.
Of course, American politics and culture did not cease to depict how selfish we can be during a crisis. Instead of promoting masks, social distancing, and community efforts to protect yourself and neighbors from Covid-19.
We have authority and government officials disregarding health officials and claiming that the American people have rights! Well, due to their lack of leadership, we are fortunate to have many states back in all time highs, overfilled hospitals, and restaurants opened at 50% capacity.
According to The Washington Post, there are 22 states that have continued to reduce the number of cases while the remaining states have experienced all time record highs.
States With Minor Restrictions
Classifications for minor restrictions:
- Bars, theaters, casinos or concert halls may reopen with larger groups permitted.
Currently, there are 31 states with minor restrictions, with some varying by region. Within these 31 states, 20 of them are experiencing a significant increase in number of cases.
In states like Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah are experiencing all time highs within the past month. They have experienced a significant increase in cases of up to five times since reopening began.
I would also like to state that most of these states listed in the minor restrictions sections were not complying with the guidelines set by the White House.
States With Moderate Restrictions
Classifications for moderate restrictions:
- Many of the above businesses may reopen with limited capacity, while bars and gyms remain closed.
Currently 17 states are enforcing moderate restrictions, 6 of the 17 states are experiencing all time highs to similar levels prior to reopening. Maryland, Illinois, Delaware, Colorado were the states that reopened with an increasing number of cases per day. Yet, after reopening they were able to reduce and maintain lower levels until July.
States With Major Restrictions
Classifications for major restrictions:
- Personal care businesses, such as salons and barbers, gyms and most non-essential businesses remain closed.
- Restaurants and bars may not seat patrons. Face coverings and six-foot distancing are required, and public gatherings larger than ten are not permitted.
California is the only state that is enforcing major restrictions. California has recently reversed their plans on reopening due to a major influx of coronavirus cases. This decision by Governor Gavin Newsom has made the stock market and other states reconsider reopening procedures.
States With No Restrictions
Alaska is the only state with no restrictions in place. I think Alaska is a special case where there is such a small population at risk that they are willing to take the risk of reopening their economy.
Despite having an all time high of 52 reported cases as of 7/15/2020, they have handled the virus surprisingly well. I think Alaska’s largest city might be at risk with this implementation but so far they have done a good job at maintaining low levels of cases.
Note: Each state is placed under a restriction level based on their governor’s current guidance on business and social activity. This classification is also provided by The Washington Post.
Is More Restriction Reducing Number of Cases?
In my work I have decided to prioritize minor restriction vs moderate (varying to major) restrictions.
- 32 states (none to minor restrictions).
- 18 states (moderate to major restrictions).
Once we compare the data of all time highs, 15/31 states are experiencing all time highs with minor to no restrictions. Comparing this data, we have 6/18 states with moderate to major restrictions experiencing all time highs.
- 46.9% of states with minor to no restrictions.
- 10 of these states are experiencing an active or imminent outbreak1.
- 33.3% of states with moderate to major restrictions.
Since a majority of states are enforcing minimal levels of restriction, we are able to see the damaging effects of little to no guidance amidst a pandemic. Meanwhile, states with higher levels of restriction are benefiting from less severe numbers of coronavirus cases, with the exception of California.
By comparing both types of data, I am hoping to see the states that took preemptive measures to contain the virus will have better results than less restrictions. Meanwhile, I am also interested in seeing the data for states with minimal restrictions, as many of them have seen thousands of new cases.
I believe that by addressing the lack of leadership and poor discipline of maintaining health priorities, some of the governors should be condemned, shamed, and voted out. It would be concerning to see people reelect officials that have failed the public and remained inactive in their roles.
Note: I combined the states with no restrictions with minor restrictions as they were both creating similar data. Also, I combined the data of moderate and major restrictions due to the lack of data available if I was to use only major restrictions.
Through the use of the Covid Act Now, I was able to come up with the necessary data quickly and accurately. If you were to quickly glance at this picture, you can clearly see the effects of minimal restrictions.
How they determine a state’s risk level:
- Hospital ICU headroom availability.
- Infection rate.
- Contact tracing (beta).
Some states aren’t highlighted as red, due to their ability to handle the intake of new cases, contact tracing capabilities, and lower infection rates. States highlighted red can indicate the state’s lack of ICU headroom, high infection rates, or low contact tracing capabilities.
Upon reviewing the varying levels of restrictions, I found that states with moderate to major restrictions experienced less all time high number of cases. If we compare this data with minor to no restrictions, we are able to discover compelling data that supports more restriction rather than less.
In short, more restriction does not guarantee lower number of cases, it is significantly better than minor to no restrictions in place. 46.9% of states with minimal levels of restriction are experiencing all time highs. Meanwhile 33% of states with moderate and above levels of restriction are also experiencing all time highs.
These same states that are experiencing outbreaks, are the same ones that have been advocating for no masks and quick reopening policies. It is unfortunate that we have to experience an increase in number of cases and deaths for proper action to be taken.
States should consider following procedures:
- Enforce mandatory mask wearing
- Encourage companies/restaurants to deny services if customer does not abide by rules
- Government officials and authority should promote mask wearing and social distancing by following the same rules.
- Establish more contact tracing sites to improve data gathering and lower the amount of future cases.
- Reverse/ease reopening policies if number of cases exponentially increase to previous all time highs.
Ongoing Controversy About Face Masks
This has got to be the most ridiculous part about the whole pandemic. The overwhelming number of people who believe their rights are being impeded by a face mask baffles me. Although this has been a hot topic for the public and the scientific community, evidence1,2,3 has shown that wearing a mask helps reduce the spread of covid-19.
We have law enforcement and government officials stating “don’t be a sheep.” Statements like this are unhelpful and toxic when it comes to handling crises as a collective.
Since the public looks to authority figures, we are hearing the same argument of “this is my body, my right” To those who are so concerned with their rights, your lack of thinking and outright stupidity baffles me. Their research ranges from fake news to unchecked scholarly articles.
According to Physics of Fluids, researchers in a recent study visually represented the effectiveness of varying types of face masks. They noted that coughing can travel up to 12 feet, while sneezing has been agreed that it will cover a larger range. The researchers encourage surgical masks, N95, or cloth face mask for most effective results. While handkerchiefs and bandanas are still useful, but less effective.
The quantitative data that clearly depicts how effective face masks are, I am hopeful that readers will continue to encourage their family and friends in utilizing face masks in public places. Continue to educate people who are misled by fake news and bigotry, when it comes to handling the pandemic as a collective.
Highlight of research:
Type of Face Masks
Any type of face mask is more often better than no mask. Masks will not prevent the virus from being contracted. However, it will mitigate the likelihood of you or someone else contracting the virus. This is a collective approach and everyone should be doing their part in protecting one another.
Despite the recommendations from health officials many individuals are disregarding their information.
The cultural differences between the US and other foreign countries is the lack of collectivism and overwhelming idea of individualism above all else. Even during a pandemic we can see the lack of common sense and willingness to help from uneducated masses. Furthermore, people of authority are adding into the hysteria by encouraging their supporters to not follow health guidances.
I cannot say that I am surprised that we are experiencing a resurgence in number of cases when there are leaders within our government denying the use of masks. The lack of leadership and unification during a pandemic is nothing short of political shortsightedness and trying to prove one another wrong. Perhaps we can set aside political differences and focus on the bigger picture to continue reducing the number of cases.
As always, I hope you found my article informative or entertaining. Feel free to reach out to express concerns, questions or feedback, as I am reading through them to improve my writing. Thank you for your time and until next week!