Coronavirus mitigation measures enacted in March are bearing significant fruit. We know this because the states hit earliest are all starting to see their infection curves flatten.
However, White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx has warned that a devastating “second wave” of infections could hit the U.S. if social distancing measures are dropped too soon, the Washington Examiner reported.
The first two states that saw the coronavirus hit their borders early on were Washington and California. Especially in Washington, social distancing measures were put in place very early, and the measures have paid off.
Even with the first hot spot in the country, Washington still has less than 10,000 cases and 431 deaths. Compare those numbers to a state like New York, where social distancing measures were enacted late in the game, and the difference is startling.
As of Thursday afternoon, New York has almost 160,000 confirmed cases and more than 7,000 deaths, according to a Worldometer tracker. Even so, New York is seeing a dramatic decrease in coronavirus hospitalizations, a bright spot among the rapidly increasing death toll.
Even though the news of the flattening curve may be tempting, Dr. Birx wants everyone to continue to ride the shutdown out over the remainder of the month of April before even thinking about going back outside again.
“What’s really important is that people don’t turn these early signs of hope into releasing from the 30 days to stop the spread — it’s really critical,” Birx said Wednesday, according to the Examiner. “If people start going out again and socially interacting, we could see a very acute second wave very early.”
Flattening the curve
Recent models have estimated that more than 200,000 people will die from the coronavirus when all is said and done. This country has not seen anything like this since the 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak.
Even so, our research is far better today than it was back then and as long as we give the researchers enough time to come up with a treatment and vaccine, we should not see numbers as drastic as these models are predicting.
If you have been tracking the models, you will have noticed the numbers go down each time more data is input into them, another sign that social distancing is working.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Birx both agree that if we keep it up, those model numbers will continue to drop.
“I think Dr. Fauci and I both strongly believe that if we work as hard as we can over the next several weeks, that we will see potential to go under the numbers that were predicted by the models,” Birx said, according to the Examiner.