Residents wait in line at a mobile COVID-19 testing site set up in a vacant lot in Chicago, Illinois, on June 23, 2020.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
  • The US on Wednesday hit its highest single-day total of new cases with over 36,000 new infections recorded.
  • More than half of the states have recorded a surge in cases.
  • Experts warn that this resurgence could put a strain on America's healthcare system and result in more unnecessary deaths.
  • Many health experts are calling for more comprehensive testing and contact tracing, as well as more restrictive measures to be put in place to limit the spread.
  • They are also saying this is still the first wave of the virus, and a second wave is likely to hit in the fall.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

After many states began to get a handle on their coronavirus outbreaks, two months of steady progress could be undone if infection rates continue to surge.

The US on Wednesday hit its highest single-day total of new cases with over 36,000 new infections recorded. Most of the cases came from a handful of states mostly in the West and South.

California, Texas, and Florida each reported over 5,000 new cases. More than half of the states have reported a surge in new cases.

Health experts have said the surge is a result of relaxed criteria for re-opening. According to the Associated Press, efforts to return to a pre-Covid-19 normal have been criticised by hospital administrators and health experts, who say they could allow for another potential full-blown outbreak.

"People got complacent," Marc Boom, CEO of the Houston Methodist hospital system told the AP. "And it's coming back and biting us, quite frankly."

As of Wednesday, the US recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus infections, with over 121,000 deaths. The main model used to estimate the impact of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States now predicts close to 180,000 deaths based on current trends by October 1.

While President Donald Trump has made claims that the virus is under control and has urged a reopening of the US economy, experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have repeatedly warned that surges like these could lead to a "full-blown outbreak" that the US is not prepared to handle, Business Insider's Lauren Frias reported.

"The question is will they have the capability to do the appropriate and effective isolation, and contact tracing, to prevent this increase from becoming a full-blown outbreak? I'm concerned it's happening," Fauci told the UK newspaper The Telegraph, referring to the recent spikes in Covid-19 cases throughout the US.

"I hope the individual states can blunt that. It [the virus] could go on for a couple of cycles, coming back and forth," he added.

Trump blamed the rise in coronavirus cases on increased testing, despite evidence that shows there's a variety of factors contributing to the spikes in cases.

"If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, actually," the president said last week.

Health experts have advised the need for comprehensive testing and contact tracing is necessary to get this outbreak under control. As cases go up, hospitals across the country are beginning to get overwhelmed with the overload of patients.

Hospitalisations in Texas have already doubled in the past two weeks, the AP reported. In an effort to preserve hospital space, Gov. Greg Abbott told KFDA-TV that the state might need new local restrictions. In Houston, the intensive care units are already almost full, Mayor Sylvester Turner told the AP, and two public hospitals have limited capacity left to take on new patients.

Joseph Gerald, a University of Arizona public health policy professor told the AP that emergency rooms in the state are now seeing about 1,200 suspected Covid-19 patients a day. A month ago hospitals were only seeing around 500 suspected patients. Hospitals are likely to exceed their capacity in the next few weeks if the surge continues.

According to CNN, this surge of cases is not even the second wave of infections that experts predict is likely to happen in the fall. This is just an extension of the first wave, and more restrictive measures may need to be brought back to get the situation back under control.

Officials have also reported that many of the new infections are from young adults, Business Insider's Holly Secon reported.

Some experts think the shift in the demographic of new cases could be due to increased testing so younger patients who tend to have milder cases are now able to be tested and their cases counted. Additionally, some suggested that the uptick is due to young people ignoring social distancing since they perceive the virus as less of a threat.

The Orlando Sentinel reported that the median age of coronavirus patients went from 65 in March to 37 last week. And in Arizona, the number of new coronavirus cases is growing twice as fast among those who are 20 to 44 compared with those over 65. Similar trends could be seen in South Carolina, Arizona, and Texas.

While the virus may cause more severe illness in older patients, those who are younger are not immune and can also end up in the ICU. Hospitalisations among young adults are also rising in some parts of Arizona and Florida.

"We're seeing an increase in hospitalisations consistent with the frequency of the disease," Theresa Cullen, the health director of Arizona's Pima County said, according to local news station KOLD. "There are people in the ICU in their 20s, 30s, and 40s."

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