COVID-19 Updates: How Are Things Looking in the US?

A public notice placed on the window of a general store saying Store Closed due to COVID-19

After closing in on over 1.9 million nationwide confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, the US appears to be reaching a plateau at last. Continue reading for more COVID-19 updates.

The coronavirus outbreak has rattled the global economy and brought numerous businesses to a screeching halt. However, while the pandemic has gripped the entire world in its deadly grasp and spread to big and small countries alike, the US is one of those countries that have been the most severely hit. 

Since the first local case was reported on January 21, the numbers have grown exponentially, with the total count of the confirmed COVID-19 patients in the country now nearing 2 million. That’s more than a quarter of all COVID-19 cases reported worldwide!

According to the data collected by Johns Hopkins University, more than 110,000 people in the US have lost their lives in the battle against this virus. With the global tally for confirmed deaths slightly over 403,000, the virus has clearly killed more people in the US than in any other part of the world.

However, on a brighter side, there are signs that the rate of growth of coronavirus is reaching a plateau. Business operations and life in the US, in general, may soon be returning to normal as the new case and death counts are leveling off in various states. Restaurants, while still on lockdown are placing tables outside and catering to customers outside when they weren’t before. We should note that they still are keeping the 6’ distancing practice and advising costumers to wear masks. 

Some Major States Opening Up

New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and California are some of the states that are lessening the restrictions on lockdown after being hit the hardest by COVID-19. 

Since viruses generally spread more quickly in densely populated areas, it shouldn’t be too surprising why these states were dealt a massive blow; but nonetheless, after weeks of adhering to the shelter-in-place advisory, the outlook is improving. 

In fact, in regions such as California and Washington, things have improved so much that the local governments are returning the military-borrowed medical equipment and taking down the makeshift hospitals that were set up in preparation for a surge in cases. 

This is a huge improvement considering the fact that not only were the biggest clusters of cases observed in these regions, but states like New York, New Jersey and California together accounted for over 50% of all the cases in the country – along with nearly 60% of all deaths nationwide. In fact, there was a time in April when New York alone saw an average of about 8,000 – 10,000 new cases every day!

Crisis in the Midst of a Crisis

While the effects of this infectious disease seems to be cooling off in some parts of the country, the pattern isn’t consistent. 

As previous hotspots subside, new ones seem to be emerging. As thousands of Americans get together to raise their voice for racial equality, there is a growing fear among health experts regarding a sudden spike in new infections. Experts say that this new increase is mainly attributed to the Black Lives Matter protests after George Floyd’s ruthless killing in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020. 

Authorities are warning demonstrators to follow proper safety protocols to protect themselves and others from contracting coronavirus. This is because social distancing – our most powerful defense technique so far for controlling the spread of the virus – is not being practiced at all of these rallies. 

In the wake of these mass demonstrations throughout the US, several states and cities are setting up free testing sites to keep a close check on the contagion and decide the best course of action from thereon.

For instance, in San Francisco, multiple mobile testing sites continue to pop up, offering free coronavirus tests for people who are concerned about exposure. 

Similarly, the state government in Illinois announced that locals no longer need health insurance or a doctor’s prescription to get themselves tested for COVID-19. 

Business Restrictions in Major States and Territories

Although restrictions are loosening up in the initial hot spots like New York and California, there is still a strict code of conduct that must be followed when resuming business activities.

Plus, only particular businesses have been allowed to recommence operations for the time being.  

For example, in California, low-risk businesses such as flower shops, bookshops, clothing stores, are allowed to reopen. Personal-care businesses including salons and barbershops are also open now in multiple jurisdictions, except the ones hardest-hit, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

In New York, certain outdoor recreational businesses like drive-in movie theaters have been granted permission for resuming operations. State beaches and public parks have also been opened in some parts of the country.

The NY governor, Andrew Cuomo recently announced that five regions, including Central NY have entered the second phase of reopening. This means that nonessential retail businesses cannot only welcome customers but also seat up to 50% of their normal capacity as long as they adhere to the issued guidelines.

Dental clinics have also resumed normal operations and are catering to patients of elective surgeries as well. 

Bottom Line

After weeks of implementing shelter-in-place and suffering through a health crisis cum economic disaster that has affected more than 300 million Americans, a degree of normalcy can now be seen in several parts of the country.

However, health experts warn that with increased activity, there is a risk of new infections too. This is especially alarming when you consider the trends in the earlier epidemics like the Spanish Flu where the second and third waves wreaked more havoc than the first one. 

Therefore, be it opening up the doors of your office, heading out for grocery shopping or anything else in between, make sure to follow all safety precautions and play your part in controlling the spread of COVID-19.