Sharp spikes in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, and to a much lesser extent daily deaths, have prompted at least 28 states and New York City to roll back or put the breaks on their reopening efforts, a Breitbart News assessment found on Wednesday.
Some of those states reimposed lockdown measures. The rules, some new, came as daily cases reportedly reached the second-highest single-day countrywide count on Wednesday (65,106), driven by infections in the latest hotspots located in the southern and western parts of the U.S.
Although Massachusetts has been moving forward with its phased reopening plans since May, it does not plan to fully reopen (move to its final phase) until the “development of [coronavirus] vaccines and/or treatments enable resumption of ‘new normal,'” the state’s guidelines revealed.
Breitbart News gleaned the 28 states that have paused or rolled back their reopening timelines along with NYC from Fox News, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal, among other outlets.
The states include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Among those states is California, the first to impose a stay-at-home order, and others, like Florida and Texas, that reopened reasonably early compared to other areas.
The first wave of the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. has shifted geographically, moving from the Northeast and Midwest (New York, Chicago) regions impacted at the beginning to the South (Texas, Florida) and West (California).
However, unlike the beginning of the outbreak early this year, the current surge in the South and West appears significantly less lethal. There is a lag of about three weeks or more between infection detection and deaths, so the numbers could spike soon, reflecting the surge in cases that began around June 15.
The seven-day average of the deaths reported each day across the U.S. has been creeping up in recent days, but it remains well below the peak level of 2,740 on May 7, according to the COVID Tracking Project.
Health analysts rely on seven-day rolling averages of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to provide a clearer picture of the pandemic because the figures fluctuate daily.
The seven-day average of new cases in at least 46 states, including the vast majority of those that have paused or rolled back their reopening schedules, is higher than their average during the past two weeks, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.
Based on the seven-day rolling average, at least one (Maine) of the states that changed their mind about reopening was facing a decrease in cases, the New York Times noted on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the new cases in a handful of the states that reversed their reopening timeline were mostly the same as Wednesday, the Times added.
The seven-day average of daily deaths reported across the country is beginning to increase, driven by significant rises in the number of fatalities in the new hotspots — California (7,302 cumulative deaths), Florida (4,521), Texas (3,573), and Arizona (2,434), Worldometer revealed.
Daily fatalities in those four states have reached peak levels in recent days, most recently Texas (at least 110 on Wednesday) and Florida (at least 133 on Tuesday), the COVID Tracking Project reported.
Although California (352,068 cases; 7,302 deaths), Florida (301,810; 4,521), and Texas (295,279; 3,573), are the top three most populated states, respectively, followed by New York, the Empire State has more cases (430,236) and fatalities (32,493) than each of the three.
New York, once the epicenter of the outbreak, has more infections and deaths than California, Florida, and Texas, each, despite the latter three states being the hardest-hit by the coronavirus at the moment and each having a larger population than the Empire State.
The new surge has primarily spared New York.
Some public health officials, including Dr. Deborah Birx from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, have blamed the spike in cases on decisions by southern states to reopen too early and too aggressively in a bid to revive their ailing economies.