(CNN) – In the past two weeks, the United States reported more than 915,000 new cases of coronavirus, that is, more than the cases reported nationwide during the entire month of June.
The staggering number indicates that the United States is still far from containing the virus, which is spreading through American communities, overwhelming hospitals and testing laboratories. The extension promises a bleak outlook for the coming months, according to health officials and the president. And experts have highlighted that the actual number of infections is probably much higher than the reported cases.
This is all happening while some US leaders have admitted that parts of the country reopened too soon. And as they did, residents returned too quickly to old habits: crowding bars, crowding beaches on hot summer days, having barbecues, and vacationing with friends.
The surge in new cases across the South and Southwest has now been linked to Americans’ Memorial Day travel and reopens, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said Wednesday. .
“This epidemic appeared throughout the south and west after June 10 simultaneously,” he told Fox News. “We saw a wide spread of the virus in counties, rural areas, in small and large metropolitan areas, throughout the south, southwest and west, almost simultaneously.
Hoping to curb the spread, at least 27 states have paused or reversed their reopening plans. In Houston, Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke again for a second containment order amid a surge in cases. In Los Angeles, the mayor said the city was “on the verge” of another confinement. But in Georgia, the governor criticized Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ decision to return to Phase 1, which directs residents to stay at home with the exception of essential travel.
What comes next is unclear: Now that at least 41 states require covering their faces, some have said that stringent measures like limiting meetings and enforcing social distancing and face masks can be as determining as other confinement. But others are not so hopeful.
“Masks will help, but I think we need much more than masks to contain this epidemic that is going through our country like a freight train,” said William Haseltine, president and chairman of the global health think tank ACCESS Health International.
“Until we see significant behavioral changes and until we see that public health services are stepping forward with many more resources, we are not sure we will contain this.”
Louisiana on track for 100,000 cases
Louisiana, where the governor said earlier this month that June progress against the virus was wiped out in weeks, will join at least 11 other states that have recorded a total of more than 100,000 infections.
California in trouble over increased coronavirus These include California (with most cases), New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois, Georgia, Arizona, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.
In Texas, the state broke its record for hospitalizations two days in a row this week, with 10,848 patients reported on Tuesday and 10,893 reported on Wednesday. It also reported its highest number of deaths in a single day on Wednesday: 197.
And in Florida, more than four dozen hospitals reported that there were no available beds in the intensive care unit (ICU) over the weekend. But the governor said this week that the state was following the “right course.”
On Wednesday, Governor Ron DeSantis said parents should have the option of sending their children back to the classroom or to learn digitally from home, adding that “the costs of keeping schools closed are huge.”
Covid-19 could be the second cause of death in Los Angeles
California beat New York with the most cases in the nation this week. With more than 420,000 cases, the state has seen a recent increase, while reported infections in New York have slowed significantly. California hit another peak in new cases, reporting 12,807 positive tests in one day, Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday.
Los Angeles County health officials announced Wednesday that the virus is on track to become the second leading cause of death in the county, with at least 3,400 deaths in the first six months of the year.
That would mean the disease will cost more lives than Alzheimer’s disease and strokes, health officials said. Coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death, claimed 6,000 lives in the first six months of 2019.
The news comes after the county reported 2,232 hospitalized patients on Monday, breaking its own record for daily hospitalizations at least four times in a week. There were 2,207 confirmed cases hospitalized on Wednesday, 27% of which are in the ICU, health officials said.
Meanwhile, San Francisco is on “high alert” after averaging 79 new cases every day this week and seeing a 23% increase in hospitalizations, Public Health Director Grant Colfax said Wednesday.
Those two figures play key roles in helping officials determine whether to pause or back off on the reopening, Colfax added.
Fauci: “I don’t see us eradicating the virus”
As states focus on recovering from the spread of the coronavirus, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert says the world will never be able to eradicate the virus, but will be able to control it with a vaccine and good public health measures.
“I think with a combination of good public health measures, a degree of collective immunity and a good vaccine, which I hope and feel cautiously optimistic that we will get. I think when you put the three together, I think we’ll have a very good handle on this, ”said Dr. Anthony Fauci, speaking during an Internet broadcast hosted by the TB Alliance.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization also said that the world is unlikely to be able to eradicate or eliminate covid-19 any time soon.
There are now positive results from trials involving three different coronavirus vaccines, but even when a vaccine is approved, there will be major obstacles to its distribution.
And another hurdle: Half of Americans would not receive a coronavirus vaccine if it were available today due to lack of confidence, former US Health Director Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN earlier this week.
“We know that distributing vaccines is going to be quite difficult and if people are not willing to take it because we have not generated enough public trust, that will seriously affect our ability to develop collective immunity,” said Murthy.
CNN’s Andrea Kane, Keith Allen, Cheri Mossburg, Andy Rose and Alexandra Meeks contributed to this report.