Your Sunday Updates: Florida Reports 5 Days In A Row Of 1,000+ Cases, Doctors Fight Rare COVID-Linked Syndrome in Children, Naval Academy Alumni Board Member Resigns After Racial Slurs
Florida reports fifth day of more than 1,000 new cases
Joe Byrnes, WMFE
Florida on Sunday reported 1,180 new positive coronavirus cases and 12 additional deaths from COVID-19.
That brings Florida’s total number of COVID-19 deaths to 2,700. The state has reported 63,938 cases.
Florida has also reported more than 1,000 cases every day for the past five days. That’s something the state hasn’t seen since early April, according to data from the New York Times.
The Times data shows Florida’s seven-day average for new cases approaching the high mark set around April 7, when that state’s safer-at-home order began to bring it down.
Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Florida was entering phase 2 of its reopening.
In Central Florida, totals are:
– Brevard County: 457 cases, 13 deaths.
– Lake County: 329 cases, 15 deaths.
– Marion County: 279 cases, 8 deaths.
– Orange County: 2,316 cases, 45 deaths.
– Osceola County: 745 cases, 21 deaths.
– Polk County: 1,178 cases, 67 deaths.
– Seminole County: 532 cases, 12 deaths.
– Sumter County: 261 cases, 17 deaths.
– Volusia County: 819 cases, 44 deaths.
Naval Academy Alumni board member resigns after racial slurs on Facebook video
The Associated Press
JACKSONVILLE – A Naval Academy Alumni Association Board of Trustees member has resigned from his position after an accidental Facebook Live video broadcast him and his wife making racist comments and using racial slurs while talking about the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Jacksonville Times-Union reported that 63-year-old Scott Bethmann and his wife, Nancy, were watching the news and discussing the Black Lives Matter movement.
They made racist comments and used slurs in a video that was accidentally streamed on Facebook Live.
On Saturday, Bethmann resigned from his position with the Naval Academy Alumni Association on national and local levels.
She’s a frontline doctor. Her husband has lung cancer. Now, a simple hug is dangerous
Tom Dreisbach, NPR
Dr. Lauren Jenkins says her medical training has always taught her to think of the worst-case scenario. And one day this past March, that’s exactly where her mind went.
It was early in the coronavirus pandemic. Jenkins, a 37-year-old obstetrician-gynecologist who practices at a hospital in Philadelphia, was cooking for her husband and their nearly three-year-old twins, Pierce and Ashton.
That’s when she got a call from a colleague. An anesthesiologist she had worked with during a long surgery about one week earlier had tested positive for the coronavirus.
“I’m sitting there thinking, ‘OK. I’ve been exposed. It’s very likely that I’ve been infected. And it’s very likely that I’ve infected my family,'” she says.
For any family navigating the pandemic, that call would be alarming. For hers, it was potentially devastating.
Her husband, Jay Roux, 44, has stage IV lung cancer. Every few weeks, he has a needle inserted into his lungs to drain fluid that builds up. Cancer treatments have weakened his heart. And he eats — or, rather, ingests nutrition — through a gastrostomy tube into his stomach. His body’s defenses to the coronavirus are severely compromised.
“For Jay to get COVID, it would be catastrophic,” Jenkins says.
After learning of her colleague’s positive test, Jenkins immediately stopped cooking and rushed to her bedroom, where she locked herself away from the family. She remembers thinking, “Perhaps I had been responsible for exposing Jay to the very thing that would kill him.”
Roux brought food to her room on a tray, she says, “and passed it through the door and ran away.” When her family had all gone to bed, she put on a mask, grabbed bleach, and wiped down every surface she could find.
She wasn’t upset with her colleague. He had come to work with mild symptoms, and, in general, doctors are taught to come to work even if they have a regular cold, she says. “Calling out sick isn’t really a thing,” she says. And it was early in the pandemic, before many health care workers were taking much more stringent precautions.
The next day, Jenkins drove to a testing site, endured the long swab pushed into the back of her nose, and got a test result. It was negative.
It was a massive relief. But she decided that as long as the pandemic dragged on, and as long as she was treating patients with the coronavirus, she could not put her family through that experience again. She would have to move out.
“There can never be a next time,” she decided. “I can’t take this kind of risk.”
At first, her husband argued that the family should stay together at their home in New Jersey. His cancer — and the heart problems from the treatment — make it hard to care for two energetic toddlers, even with the help of an au pair.
“I’m not even half the man I used to be,” he says.
He eventually came around. After more than a year of fighting cancer, he says, “it would be stupid” to die from a preventable exposure to the virus. Plus, he told Jenkins, if she did inadvertently pass the coronavirus to him, “I think that you would carry that guilt with you for the rest of your life, and it would eat you alive.”
So she moved out, landing in an apartment donated for use by health care workers in Philadelphia, about a half-hour drive from home.
Separating helped reduce Roux’s potential exposure to the virus. But it forced the couple to confront questions with no clear answers: With an uncertain prognosis, would the separation waste precious time that Roux has with his family? And if the pandemic continues for a year or more, how long would they live like this?
The ‘hazmat suit’
It didn’t take long to discover just how poor a substitute video calls can be for physical contact — the chance to hug each other, or sit and read to their kids together.
The twins had been born prematurely and had subsequently spent months in the neonatal intensive care unit.
“I never missed a single day by their side,” says Jenkins. Even afterwards, she hardly spent much time away from them.
In the first weeks away from home, she started to strategize a way to safely visit her family about once a week. After talking with her colleagues who specialized in infectious diseases, she landed on what they call her “hazmat suit.”
It’s the same kind of suit that might be seen in a high-tech laboratory: a hooded set of white coveralls, gloves, a mask and goggles.
The first moments she stepped foot in the house in the suit were admittedly “weird,” the couple says. Their son Pierce is more timid, and wasn’t quite sure what to make of the masked figure in the house.
“He didn’t instantly run over to me,” says Jenkins.
But Ashton immediately jumped into her lap and started comparing “mommy’s glasses” — her safety goggles — with his own.
Once Pierce came around, they all read books and played with blocks together.
“Part of what’s so cool about kids is that they don’t overthink things,” she says. “It’s like, ‘Oh, mom’s been gone. But now she’s here’.”
“To even give her a hug and hold her for five minutes, it’s amazing,” says Roux. “Not the real thing, but it’s still amazing.”
The hardest part were the goodbyes. They decided to put the boys down to sleep before she leaves. That way, “It’s not like a big horrible goodbye,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s more for me or for them.”
A way out
At one point, the family was offered a way out of their forced separation.
Leadership at the hospital told Jenkins they could take her off the frontlines, so she wouldn’t have to risk exposure to COVID-19.
But she barely considered the offer before turning it down. Other doctors at her hospital, she says, are older and at higher risk. And she felt the need to contribute during a public health emergency.
“I don’t think anyone would’ve begrudged me,” Jenkins says. “But it didn’t feel right to me.”
She remembers calling Roux soon after. “I was actually a little nervous to tell him that I had said no,” she says.
But he immediately told her: I hope you turned down the offer.
“You’re a doctor,” he recalls telling her. “You provide an amazing service to women. That’s your calling. It’s what you do.”
They agree it was the right decision. Still, at times, Jenkins says she feels a creeping sense of “betrayal” by her job. It was hardest that day in March, when she first learned she might have exposed her family. But every now and then it comes back.
“My job is a huge part of who I am. And it’s a source of so much of my pride and my joy and my sense of self,” she says. “For the first time, I felt like my job was making me choose between my life’s work and the wellness of my family.”
Roux says his experience with cancer, and their long ordeal with the kids’ time in intensive care, has made him a firm believer in the idea that “s*** happens,” but you push on.
“I said to Lauren, ‘With all the stuff that we’ve gone through in the last couple of years, this is just a small ripple in the lake’,” he says. “‘We just get through it.'”
‘Nobody knows when it’s going to end’
The day after Mother’s Day, the couple decided to switch places. Jenkins was missing the kids, and Roux was struggling to keep up with them.
After talking with experts, they decided that the risk to their kids was low enough that she could return home. But this time, Roux would leave and stay at a family member’s spare apartment.
“When she came home, I already had all my stuff packed up in my truck,” he says. “She came in through one door and I waved at her and said I loved her and went out the other door.”
When the pandemic started, they hadn’t really considered that it could go on past the summer. But now they’re thinking about what it’ll mean to stay apart indefinitely.
“It’s a whole lot of questions with no answers, because nobody really knows,” says Jenkins. “Nobody knows when it’s going to end. We don’t even know if antibodies actually confer immunity or if it means you can get it the second time. What happens then?”
Roux, in particular, is worried that officials will end lockdown policies too quickly.
“I want to see the numbers come way down below before people start thinking that it’s safe,” he says. “Not just because of me, but there’s the elderly and other people with immune deficiency.”
Every day, he still comes by the house to work on the yard, even just to see his family from a safe distance.
“I get to see my kids through the window, but I can’t touch them,” he says. “It’s awful, because I love my boys and they’re fun and I’m dad. And, you know, if Lauren comes home and I’m still in the yard, I’ve got to stay like 10, 12 feet away from her.”
“And I just kind of give her one of those air kisses, you know? I tell her I love her. And then we always say, ‘this is weird.’ You know, it’s just so darn weird. But it won’t last forever.”
Doctors race for answers as kids fight rare inflammatory syndrome tied to coronavirus
Lulu Garcia-Navarro, NPR
The first sign that something was wrong came with stomach pains. It was April 30, and 9-year-old Kyree McBride wasn’t feeling well.
His mother, Tammie Hairston, thought it might have been something that he ate. But soon, young McBride was battling a 102-degree fever.
Worried he may have contracted the coronavirus, Hairston took her son to the hospital. “It was a quick in and out of the emergency room,” she said. Doctors told her to take him home and monitor him.
The fever, though, didn’t break. In a telemedicine call with McBride’s doctor a few days later, Hairston was told to hang tight. Then the stomach pains came back, stronger this time. Then vomiting. Later, Kyree’s skin began to develop a reddish hue.
By the time he was finally admitted to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., more than a week later, doctors determined that although he was negative for COVID-19, he had developed antibodies for the coronavirus.
It was a sign he’d already been infected and recovered from COVID-19. And it mirrored what they had been seeing in dozens of young patients who since the start of the pandemic have been diagnosed with a condition known as Multisystem-Inflammatory Syndrome in Children, or MIS-C.
Since April, when cases of the syndrome were first detected in Europe, doctors have been puzzling over the mysterious new condition, one they’re attributing to complications linked to COVID-19. While early research suggests the condition is rare, experts are still racing to answer even the most basic questions about the illness, such as why some children are more susceptible than others, how to safely treat it and what it might mean for their long-term health.
The connection to COVID-19
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, young children have been the least likely of all age groups to become seriously ill with the virus, though they can still become infected and spread it.
When they do become infected, they often don’t exhibit symptoms, making it nearly impossible for parents to know whether they have the coronavirus or may be at risk for MIS-C.
The majority of known cases have been concentrated on the East Coast. New York state has reported more than 150 cases. Washington has seen more than 30 cases, according to Children’s National. Cases have also been reported in a handful of other states, including California, Louisiana, Mississippi and Washington state.
The youngest confirmed patient was just a few weeks old. At least four children — one in Louisiana and three in New York — are reported to have died from the condition.
“A new phenomenon for us”
Children’s National has been one of the leading hospitals in the nation treating patients with MIS-C. Doctors there have seen 35 patients with the syndrome since the end of April, according to a hospital spokesperson. But the exact number has been difficult to pinpoint, in part because the condition is so new and because the diagnostic guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are still loosely defined.
“It’s definitely a new phenomenon for us, and it definitely has a lot of implications that we are all quite concerned about,” said Dr. Michael Bell, the chief of critical care medicine at Children’s National.
Dr. Roberta DeBiasi, the hospital’s chief of pediatric infectious diseases, says staff has seen the syndrome manifest itself in a variety ways.
The first, which has drawn the most attention, appears to mimic Kawasaki disease, an inflammatory illness that causes inflammation in the blood vessels, particularly the coronary arteries.
Patients showing these symptoms are “the most obvious type” of cases, said DeBiasi. “They may have very high fevers, red eyes, red lips, red tongue. They may have a rash over their body. They may have a swollen lymph node, swelling of their hands and feet.”
In other cases, patients might exhibit “lots of inflammation,” according to DeBiasi. Like McBride, they may also experience severe abdominal pain.
The many unknowns
The good news at Children’s National is that they have not had a child die from MIS-C.
“We really have a way of … identifying them early, treating them early so that kids don’t get sicker,” said Karen Smith, the chief of hospitalist medicine at Children’s.
Despite that success, doctors are still trying to understand a key question about the condition: when children are getting it.
“Is this acute viral? Is this post-infectious? Is it a combination? We’ve got to figure this out in our patient cohort,” DeBiasi said.
The majority of the hospital’s MIS-C patients do not test positive for the coronavirus, yet they have the antibodies that signal they’ve recovered from the virus. That implies a post-infection response in which kids’ immune systems are overreacting to the coronavirus after fighting off an active infection, DeBiasi said.
Doctors are also trying to figure out which children are getting MIS-C. Initially, there were no reported cases of the condition in China or on America’s West Coast. One possible explanation for the regional disparity in the U.S., DeBiasi said, could stem from the theory that the West Coast was hit by a variant of the coronavirus from China, while the East Coast was hit by one from Europe
DeBiasi also wonders whether some kids, as with adult populations, are more vulnerable as a result of health disparities.
“There does seem to be more infection and severity in some of the racial or ethnic groups or perhaps even genetic predispositions,” she said.
But she suspects the answer might be simpler. Children could be getting sick as a result of continued exposure to the coronavirus spreading in their community.
“I think what’s happening here is these kids that are being re-exposed out in the community to a virus that they saw and made an appropriate immune response to, initially,” she said, adding that now, “that immune response is just inappropriately revved up.”
However, given the uncertainty, doctors at Children’s say they are trying to be conservative when it comes to diagnosing MIS-C because the treatments involved can strain young, growing bodies.
There are also concerns about possible long-term risks from the illness.
The children with MIS-C who end up in critical care often have inflammation in their heart and in other organs, said Bell of the hospital’s critical care division. He considers, as one example, the lifelong effects on a 5-year-old who has MIS-C.
“If she has some terrible swelling from it, which could be coronary arteries that get dilated, and might have heart attacks when she’s 6, that’s going to affect her for 70 years of life expectancy,” he said. “Yes, fewer kids get this. Fewer kids get critically ill with it. But it’s not like there’s not a huge impact to a child’s health.”
“I try to keep an eye on him”
Kyree McBride is feeling better, but he’s still low energy. At a recent checkup, doctors gave him a heart monitor because his heart is arrhythmic.
Hairston, his mother, continues to frantically monitor him.
“I’m always feeling his head and making sure he don’t have any more fevers and asking him, you know, every hour on the hour, ‘Are you OK? Are you feeling OK? Let me feel your head,’ ” she said.
The hospital was a scary time for McBride, and she worries that he’ll be hesitant to tell her if something else goes wrong.
“I try to keep an eye on him,” Hairston said.
She advises other parents to be watchful, and, if in doubt, to take their child to the hospital.
8 pm curfew is lifted in downtown Orlando
Danielle Prieur, WMFE
The 8 pm curfew for parts of downtown Orlando is no longer in effect.
In a tweet Saturday night, Mayor Buddy Dyer said, “I want to thank our residents for showing this country what unity and strength looks like.”
Starting tomorrow, June 7, I am lifting the 8 p.m. curfew in the Downtown Orlando area. The citywide curfew of 10 p.m. is still in effect.
— Mayor Buddy Dyer (@orlandomayor) June 7, 2020
“We must seize this moment and work together to enact real change.”
A city-wide curfew from 10 pm to 5 pm daily is still in effect.
Surprising job gains are good news — but not for everyone
Coronavirus Daily, NPR
Another weekend of protests around the country means more people could be exposed to tear gas, pepper spray and other “chemical irritants” that trigger — among other things — coughing and sneezing. Two things people are trying to avoid during this pandemic.
Americans are skipping payments on mortgages, auto loans and other bills due to the economic impact of the pandemic. And as NPR’s Chris Arnold reports, for some, catching up is going to be painful.
Plus, the coronavirus has hit people of color especially hard. As Harvard’s David Williams writes in an article for the Washington Post, before COVID-19, Black Americans were already struggling with the health effects of everyday discrimination. The pandemic is only making it worse.
‘Use our platform’: NBA coaches say change must occur
MIAMI (AP) — The NBA plans to go to Disney World next month to finish a season, with a schedule calling for the 22 remaining teams to play more than 150 more games and for the league to eventually crown a champion.
Coaches are seeing potentially a bigger purpose as well.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and Magic coach Steve Clifford said Saturday that once the league arrives at Disney, they would expect the NBA’s visibility to be an asset again in the hope for societal change as many in the nation are protesting racial inequality.
How the pandemic will affect this year’s election
NPR Politics, NPR
Coronavirus has upended all of American life, and democracy is no exception.
Ahead of what was supposed to be the highest turnout election in history, many people are now asking how they will be able to vote at all without getting sick.
By mail? Online? And can the president move the election date? It’s an unprecedented moment in U.S. history, and American voting may never look the same again.
Washington Desk reporter Miles Parks has the answer to four major questions about how to vote during a pandemic.
If you want to know more about the controversy behind vote by mail, read “Voting By Mail: What Is It? And Why Is It (Suddenly) Controversial?”
How will the U.S. and WHO fare without each other?
Pien Huang, NPR
Last week, President Trump declared that he is “terminating” the decades-long U.S. relationship with the World Health Organization over the agency’s relationship with China whilst withdrawing U.S. funding.
But it’s unclear what will happen next — and what the short- and long-term implications will be.
Global health experts are scratching their heads. “It’s still kind of murky,” says Jeremy Konyndyk, senior policy fellow at the Center for Global Development and former U.S. Agency for International Development official in the Obama administration. Konyndyk is just not sure how things stand: “whether the U.S. is now officially out and we’ve lost our vote or whether there’s a cooling-off period while we work through the issues.”
“The devil will be in the details,” wrote Ilona Kickbusch, founder of the Global Health Center at the Graduate Institute Geneva, in a tweet. “What is the timeframe? The legal situation? Will Admiral [Brett] Giroir [the U.S. representative to WHO’s executive board] who just presented his credentials to @who Executive Board resign? Will US agencies not be allowed to work with @WHO?”
So far, the Trump administration has not shared the details of its plan.
NPR asked for clarification. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which serves as the U.S. representative to WHO, referred NPR to the president’s May 29 remarks. Asked about the impact on ongoing work between the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and WHO, a press officer wrote via email: “Please reach out to the White House press office for assistance with this inquiry.”
The White House declined to comment.
Still, there are direct consequences if the U.S. stops funding and cooperating with the U.N. agency tasked with coordinating global responses to health threats, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s what could happen in the short, medium and long term.
Read the full article here.
COVID-19 outbreak in Pacific Northwest seafood industry as season ramps up
Nat Herz, NPR
As America’s meat producers confronted thousands of COVID-19 cases, Pacific Northwest seafood companies drafted rigorous plans to ward off similar spread of the disease in an industry where processors also work in close quarters.
But just a few weeks into the summer season, the industry has been shaken by its first major outbreak aboard a huge vessel with an onboard fish processing factory. This week, Seattle-based American Seafoods confirmed that 92 crew from its American Dynasty ship had tested positive for COVID-19, nearly three-fourths of the 126 people onboard.
“It was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe this.’ We had done so much. Each company had worked so hard to try to avoid this happening,” says Brent Paine, executive director of United Catcher Boats.
The trade group’s members fish for pollock and cod off Alaska, and another whitefish called hake off Washington and Oregon. “None of us have ever worked so hard in our lives than we have in the last two months, without a doubt.”
There have been other COVID-19 cases among seafood workers in Alaska, where thousands have traveled from out of state for the world’s largest salmon fishery. Some called for canceling this year’s season, but the state pushed ahead with a range of new measures.
The American Dynasty, which is 30 feet shorter than a football field, had been fishing for hake before coming into port in Washington. A crew member reported feeling sick, then was taken ashore and tested positive for COVID-19, American Seafoods said in a statement.
A day later, the company reported another 85 cases, plus six more Thursday. Late Thursday evening, county health officials elsewhere in Washington reported that 25 crew members on two other American Seafoods vessels had also tested positive for COVID-19.
American Seafoods’ primary investor is the New York-based private equity firm Bregal Partners. It’s one of the biggest players in the billion-dollar fishery for Alaska pollock, which goes into products like McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches.
American Seafoods says it tested workers before they were allowed onboard for the hake fishery, but its minimum advance quarantine was just five days, prompting questions from industry observers and medical experts.
“That protocol, to me, does not make a lot of sense,” says Geoffrey Gottlieb, an infectious disease physician at the University of Washington Medical Center.
Just as it can take 14 days for infected people to show COVID-19 symptoms, it can also take that long for the virus to be detectable in a test, he says. With a five-day quarantine “you might get away with it some of the time,” he says. “But if enough boats or enough industries are doing this kind of thing, it’s certainly likely that at some point that strategy is not going to work.”
An American Seafoods spokeswoman, Suzanne Lagoni, says the company has since lengthened its required quarantine to 14 days.
NBA offers clarity on tiebreakers with uneven schedule
MIAMI (AP) — The NBA has told teams that playoff seeding will be based on winning percentage, and that any tiebreakers necessary after that will follow the usual procedures.
It was an issue that needed clarity because the 22 teams that will be going to the Disney complex near Orlando, Florida, for the planned resumption of the season next month will not have played the same number of games.
Troy Carter on Q&A and Blackout Tuesday with Guy Raz
How I Built This, NPR
Troy Carter is the founder of Q&A, and he’s a music industry veteran who’s worked with Lady Gaga, Eve, John Legend, and more.
In this conversation with How I Built This host Guy Raz, Troy reflects on the implications of COVID-19, and the conversation surrounding racial inequality in the United States.
From murals to tweets: The global South shows solidarity with George Floyd protests
Isabella Gomez Sarmiento, NPR
Around the world, people have held vigils, organized protests and painted murals this week to show solidarity with the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across America.
These events are also taking place in countries struggling with their own crises — conflict, poverty, the pandemic. America’s loud call for justice after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many more black Americans has resonated.
In Nigeria, a dozen protesters gathered in front of the U.S. embassy in Abuja with signs that said “Black life matters.” In Ghana, the president tweeted a drawing of George Floyd and wrote: “Black people, the world over, are distraught by the killing of an unarmed black man.”
And in Syria’s war-torn city of Idlib, artist Aziz Asmar says he was moved to create a mural after watching the media coverage around Floyd’s death.
“I decided to paint George Floyd on the rubble of a building destroyed by aviation … to send a message to the world that despite the international negligence and blindness of the killing of civilians in Syria over a period of 10 years, we have a humanitarian duty to sympathize with all the oppressed in the world,” he wrote to NPR. “Because we are advocates of peace, we hope that racism and crime will disappear and that the world will enjoy happiness.”
Here are more examples of how people around the world are honoring black lives and demanding racial equality.
Click here to check out the artwork.
Tracking the pandemic: How quickly is the coronavirus spreading state by state?
Elena Renken, NPR
Since the first coronavirus case was confirmed in the United States on Jan. 21, more than 1 million people in the U.S. have had COVID-19. On April 12, the U.S. became the nation with the most deaths globally, but there are early signs that the U.S. case and death counts may be leveling off, as the growth of new cases and deaths plateaus. The pattern isn’t consistent across the country, as new hot spots emerge and others subside.
In response to mounting cases, state and federal authorities have emphasized a social distancing strategy, widely seen as the best available means to slow the spread of the virus. Most states have put in place measures such as closing schools and nonessential businesses and ordering citizens to stay home as much as possible.
It’s not clear how long such measures need to be in place to see a lasting effect. In Wuhan, the city in China where the virus originated, a strictly enforced lockdown and widespread testing have slowed the outbreak dramatically, enough to bring an end to the 76-day lockdown.
A large portion of U.S. cases are centered on New York City. Since March 20, New York state, Connecticut and New Jersey have accounted for about 50% of all U.S. cases. As of April 9, nearly 60% of all deaths from COVID-19 have been in these three states. While New York state appears to be reaching a plateau, as seen below, it notched between 8,000 and 10,000 new cases each day between March 31 and April 12.
To understand how one state’s outbreak compares with another’s, it’s helpful to look at not just the daily counts but the rate of change day over day.
When case counts grow very quickly, a state’s curve trends sharply upward, as New York’s does over the first 15 days past 100 cases. Generally, this is evidence of unbridled community transmission of the disease. As new cases slow, the curve bends toward horizontal, showing that the state’s outbreak may be leveling off. This doesn’t mean the number of cases has stopped growing, but the rate of growth has slowed, which could signify that social distancing measures are having an effect.
In some areas, there are signs of hope. The areas with the earliest outbreaks — such as California and Washington — seem to be having success at suppressing the disease. The outlook in Washington has improved to the point that the state has returned unused Army hospital beds it had received in preparation for a peak in cases.
Elsewhere, limited access to testing may make the number of cases look smaller than it really is. As testing becomes more readily available, we are likely to see the number of confirmed cases continue to grow, even if not at the pace previously seen.
Thousands march through Florida’s cities, demanding change despite pandemic
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