COVID-19 hotspots continue to appear around the country in states that were early to open up and relax or remove social distancing requirements instituted at the beginning of the pandemic.
California, Florida, Texas and Arizona have seen alarming increases in positive cases in the last few weeks.
There were more than 43,000 new cases across the nation on Wednesday alone.
Because of the long incubation period for the virus, a positive test result has a significant lag from when a person was exposed.
Hospitalizations lag behind positive tests.
Deaths lag behind hospitalizations.
If the surging deaths of April and May were a guide, we know where this is headed.
Iowa was not among the first states to fully reopen. We lagged. But we’re there now.
And even though we can see what is happening in those other states, Iowa seems to be pretending that it can’t happen here.
Shutting everything down for three months has done a tremendous amount of damage to the economy - but likely saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans.
We’re risking two things now:
The first may be that hundreds of thousands more may die anyway.
The second is that if we allow the above to happen, we’ll have wrecked the economy for nothing. We’ll have simply turned a disaster from March into a disaster in July and destroyed businesses and put people out of work, for no reason, in between.
There is still no vaccine and there will not likely be one for months or longer.
The situation isn’t any different now than it was in mid-March.
Many hospitals in Texas are close to being overwhelmed, which shows that the available treatments can’t do enough for those who are very ill from the virus.
But there is something we can all do that could knock the virus back and allow the economy to recover.
Since early April, the Centers for Disease Control has recommended that we put on a mask when we go out in public.
I feel like I’ve explained this a hundred times – and I probably have.
A mask can do a lot to capture virus-carrying droplets from an infected person wearing it. The mask protects other people from you if you’re infected.
Many people are walking around right now - infected with the virus but not showing symptoms – and spreading it to others when they cough, or laugh or even sing.
If everyone would put on a mask we could kneecap COVID-19’s ability to spread.