While Florida, Texas, and Arizona have seen a steep increase in their coronavirus cases per capita in recent days, storm clouds are gathering over the virus’s former epicenter in the United States.
Officials agree that New York and New Jersey, which combined have lost 47,000 people to COVID-19, are on track to no longer contain the highly-contagious pathogen. (NBC New York)
Right now, the two states are controlling disease growth, which is still a better standing than half of the rest of the nation. As of Wednesday, the latest update, just Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Vermont were on track to contain COVID, according to Covid Act Now, which assesses risk based on contact tracing, hospital capacity, testing and daily case and death numbers.
Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Gov. Phil Murphy have cited Covid Act Now in their briefings as a measure of their states’ progress, with Murphy doing so as recently as Wednesday. Cuomo has focused more on seven-day rolling average test rates than daily numbers in New York, as hospitalizations and daily fatalities plunge to three-month lows. The Empire State tests more per capita than any place in the world, the governor says. He opened it universally to New Yorkers on Wednesday.
At the same time, some reports have indicated trouble with contact tracing. Rockland County officials investigating a new party-linked cluster are resorting to subpoenas to compel people to comply, while New York City says it hasn’t been able to reach a third of the contacts it receives.
Such containment measures are critical to preventing future spread — even more so as new U.S. data shows indoor, enclosed spaces like restaurants and malls may pose a heightened risk of infection. These concerns have Cuomo and Murphy reevaluating their overall reopening strategies, shelving indoor dining indefinitely in New York City and New Jersey as the nation’s top health experts warn the latest U.S. virus surge may already be beyond control.