Some States Are Learning What Happens to COVID-19 Cases If You Reopen Too Early

  • 20 states are reporting an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the midst of the reopening of businesses and public facilities.
  • Experts say the behavior of individuals as communities start to open up is a major factor in whether COVID-19 cases rise or fall.
  • Experts also say the number of hospitalizations could be a key indicator if reopening is working or not.

If you’re waiting to see when COVID-19 cases might start to increase after states reopen businesses and public facilities, your wait appears to be over.

On Tuesday, six states reported record number of new COVID-19 cases. They were Arizona, Florida, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas.

Hospitalization rates are also on the rise in many states.

A daily tracking map done by The New York Times reports that 20 states have had rising confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 14 days.

Eight of those states are in the South, which was the first region to reopen businesses and public places.

The map also shows 19 states with decreasing case numbers over the past 2 weeks and 11 states where cases have plateaued.

A weekly graph done by Reuters showed 17 states with an increase in COVID-19 cases for the week that ended June 14.

The graph indicated there are 7 states that saw confirmed COVID-19 cases rise by more than 30 percent during the second week of June. Five of those states are in the South.

The report also noted that the number of new infections for the past week rose by 1 percent nationwide. It was the second straight week of increase after five weeks of decline.

The New York Times map shows new COVID-19 cases have been tracking at slightly more than 20,000 per day since mid-May after reaching more than 30,000 per day in April.

The map also shows the number of COVID-19 deaths has declined from the peak of about 2,000 per day in April to less than 1,000 per day since early June.

In at least three states that reopened businesses last month, restaurants and bars are temporarily closing again due to the rise in cases.

The latest increases in cases prompted one expert last week to predict that COVID-19 deaths in the United States could hit 200,000 sometime in September.

The steadily rising number has also sparked a debate over how quickly states should reopen.

“Some will say if case numbers are up, why reopen?… But we have to reopen,” Dr. David Rubin, MSCE, director of PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which has been modeling the spread of COVID-19, told Healthline in late May. “The discussion is how well you can contain transmission as you reopen.”

His models predicted a resurgence in several places in the first half of June.

The most troublesome hot spots

Arizona is the state with the highest concerns right now.

On Tuesday morning, Arizona reported 2,392 confirmed new COVID-19 cases the previous 24 hours.

That’s the first time new cases in Arizona have surpassed 2,000 in a single day. It was 45 percent higher than the previous record set on Friday.

On Wednesday morning, new cases declined to 1,827, still the second highest for Arizona since the pandemic began.

The Reuters tracking map indicated that Arizona’s number of new COVID-19 cases was 26 percent higher during the second week of June compared to the first week of June.

Officials said hospitalizations have also reached an all-time with 80 percent of hospital beds now occupied.

They added the percentage of positive test results has also spiked.

Health experts are linking the surge to the state’s decision to reopen businesses in mid-May.

In the past few days, a number of restaurants have temporarily closed again due to the spike in cases.

Alabama is facing similar worries.

The Reuters map reported that new COVID-19 cases in Alabama jumped 97 percent during the second week of June.

It also noted that the percentage of positive test results has risen from 6 percent to 14 percent.

On Monday, state officials reported that Alabama had the second highest rate of new COVID-19 cases per capita, trailing only Arizona.

Officials also reported that the state recorded more than 1,000 new cases per day over the weekend, the highest tally since the pandemic began.

They added that the cities of Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery, and Decatur are seeing record number of COVID-19 patients in their hospitals.

Alabama allowed stores to open at the end of April and other businesses in mid-May. The state has seen a gradual increase since the start of May and recorded a 28 percent jump in weekly cases in late May.

On June 3, the state reported that 30 percent of all of its COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the past two weeks.

Florida is also heating up.

On Tuesday morning, state officials reported 2,783 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day total since the pandemic began.

On Wednesday, the number of new cases declined slightly to 2,610.

The Reuters map showed that Florida’s number of new cases increased almost 50 percent during the second week of June.

Some bars and restaurants have temporarily closed again in Florida after employees and customers tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

South Carolina began reopening retail shops in late April. Restaurants and bars opened shortly afterward.

The Reuters map shows South Carolina’s number of new COVID-19 cases rose 86 percent during the second week of June.

The tracking guide also reports that the percentage of positive test results has increased from 9 percent to 14 percent.

On Monday, South Carolina officials said the state had recorded 582 new COVID-cases. On Tuesday, that number rose slightly to 595 new cases.

The state has seen at least 350 new cases per day since June 4.

On June 2, state officials urged people in South Carolina to take precautions because of the rise in cases.

Missouri, which started to reopen in early May, has also seen an uptick in cases recently.

Early last week, state officials reported triple-digit increases in daily cases.

On Friday, state officials reported 198 new COVID-19 cases, slightly less than the 200-plus daily cases recorded during most of the week.

On Monday, officials reported outbreaks of new cases in seven long-term care facilities in the Kansas City area.

On Tuesday, officials reported that new cases are declining in the St. Louis area while they’re rising in the Kansas City region.

They added that 30 percent of new cases are now coming from rural areas.

Officials also reported last week that there is now one confirmed COVID-19 case among the people who attended a crowded party at the Lake of the Ozarks during the final week of May.

On Thursday, they did note there are no known cases resulting from two St. Louis hair stylists who tested positive for COVID-19 after showing up for work with coronavirus symptoms and exposing as many as 140 people to the virus.

The state has also surpassed 16,000 cases since the pandemic began.

Missouri is listed as one of the 20 states with increasing COVID-19 cases on the New York Times map.

The Reuters map notes that new cases in Missouri declined by 10 percent during the second week of June.

On Tuesday, Missouri lifted all its statewide restrictions on businesses.

North Carolina allowed stores to open May 8 and restaurants to reopen on May 22. It began reporting increases in case numbers in late May.

On Tuesday, state officials reported there are 829 COVID-19 hospital patients, the highest total so far. They noted there are still plenty of available hospital beds.

They added that cases have declined in the past few days after a record-setting week last week.

The Reuters map reports that new COVID-19 cases in North Carolina rose 23 percent during the second week of June.

The surge has prompted state officials to warn that stay-at-home orders and other restrictions may need to be reinstituted.

Oklahoma is seeing an increase in cases this week, too.

A tracking map shows new COVID-19 positive tests have been on a steady rise since this past weekend.

Some health officials in the Tulsa area have asked the White House to change or cancel a planned campaign rally for President Donald Trump in that city on Saturday.

Cases have also been rising in Texas.

On Tuesday morning, the state reported 2,622 new COVID-19 cases, breaking the record set last Wednesday.

They also reported a record number of new hospitalizations.

The Reuters map shows that the number of new cases in Texas increased by 20 percent during the second week of June.

The rising numbers prompted Texas’ governor to urge people to stay home.

The Austin area is one of Texas’ hot spots.

On Monday, city officials announced that stay-at-home orders and mask requirements would likely be extended go August 15.

There are concerns in Houston, too.

Last week, city officials said they are getting close to reimposing stay-at-home orders. They are also preparing to reopen a medical facility established at a football stadium.

On Tuesday, several Houston restaurant owners announced they are closing their establishments again after employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Oregon is also seeing a surge of new cases.

On Tuesday morning, state officials reported 278 new confirmed cases, breaking the record of 184 cases set on Monday.

On Wednesday, officials reported that 236 people from the Lighthouse Pentecostal Church in Island City in northeast Oregon have tested positive for COVID-19.

The church reportedly held services in April and May even though state regulations restricted such gatherings. The church also held a wedding and a graduation ceremony recently.

Other places have seen more localized jumps that are less likely to be tied to reopening, though could possibly be exacerbated by it.

Outbreaks at meat processing plants, such as one in Minnesota, have contributed to spread the virus.

As have outbreaks at places like nursing homes and jails, such as one in El Paso, where daily new cases in the city appear to have jumped after an earlier decline.

Some states and communities might want to keep an eye on South Korea, where public facilities in Seoul were closed again in late May after outbreaks occurred after the reopening there.