Due to all 50 states in the U.S. reopening after months of shelter-in-place, some are talking about a “second wave” of COVID-19 infections. However, a second wave implies that the first one ended – which it hasn’t. Across the country, daily reports of COVID-19 cases have maintained the same pace for over a month. 21,000 new cases are reported every day according to a New York Times database, with 800 daily deaths caused by the virus. In 22 states cases started climbing again on June 13, and in several states the highest single day spikes occurred in the last week. Some are attributing the rise in numbers to a rise in available tests, but epidemiologists say that the increase of cases in “Sun Belt states” (California and southernmost states) are due to increased transmissions.
So what is the justification for reopening if it is clear that it will only roll us back to how things were before shelter-in-place? Trump and other politicians are pressuring states to reopen to get the economy running again. It’s estimated that if social distancing measures had been adopted two weeks earlier, 83% of COVID-19 deaths could have been avoided. To date, we have seen over 122,000 deaths from COVID-19 in the United States. Politicians know that reopening means thousands more dying unnecessarily. Once again they are showing what their priority is: defending this system, even if it means killing thousands of people.