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Threats of New Lockdowns in the U.S.

 

Posted on 15 Jun 2020 

(NYT) - In New York and Texas, there has been frustration as people flout restrictions related to the virus, which experts say is not going anywhere fast.

Disease experts are warning the virus isn’t going anywhere. Some places in the U.S. might see more lockdowns.

Leading infectious disease experts in the United States are warning that the coronavirus will be making life difficult for the foreseeable future.

And as strict social distancing wanes, some leaders in New York and Texas are threatening renewed lockdowns in an effort to get people to take the persistent threat of the virus seriously.

“This virus is not going to rest” until it infects about 60 percent to 70 percent of the population, said Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.”

Experts have estimated that without a vaccine, about 70 percent of the population will need to be infected and develop immunity in order to stop the virus’s spread, a concept called herd immunity. The current number of confirmed cases in the United States is over 2 million, less than 1 percent of the U.S. population, according to a New York Times database.

 

Dr. Osterholm said that recent data show the rate of infection has been level in eight states, increasing in 22 states and decreasing in the rest. The increase is not simply because of more widely available testing, experts said, noting that Covid-19 hospitalizations are rising in several states.

Dr. Nahid Bhadelia, medical director of the special pathogens unit at Boston University School of Medicine, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the rise in cases in some states in the South and West suggested that “we opened too early in those states.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently said that by July 4, coronavirus deaths in the United States would likely jump from the current level of about 116,000 to somewhere between 124,000 and 140,000.

Some state officials have warned of a second lockdown.

On Sunday, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said that the state had been deluged with some 25,000 complaints about businesses that “are in violation of the reopening plan.”

Specifically, Mr. Cuomo said that bar patrons in Manhattan and the Hamptons on Long Island had been flouting the rules, and warned that if local officials did not crack down on such behavior the state could be forced to suspend reopening plans.

In Houston, officials warned last week that a lockdown might be reimposed as cases continue to tick upward, CBS News reported. The region is now at what officials call “Code Orange,” meaning that there is a significant and uncontrolled level of coronavirus spread in the community.

On Friday, Jay Butler, the C.D.C.’s deputy director for infectious diseases, told reporters that “if cases begin to go up again, particularly if they go up dramatically, it’s important to recognize that more mitigation efforts such as what were implemented back in March may be needed again,” according to CNBC.

The new rise in cases in some states comes as the Trump administration announced that it did not plan to back the extension of expanded unemployment insurance benefits beyond the end of July, citing concerns that workers are opting to take the generous benefits instead of going back to their jobs.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said on Sunday that the White House would support new incentives to bring people back to work rather than push to renew the additional $600 in weekly jobless benefits when it expires at the end of next month.

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