A new report from Axios shows that some of the states embracing early release from coronavirus-related lockdowns are not experiencing the immediate spike in COVID-19 cases as experts feared — and some, like Florida, Georgia, and Texas, are actual seeing continued declines in the number of diagnosed COVID-19 cases.
It is still far too early to tell whether releasing lockdowns was the right decision, but Axios notes that experts expected a rise in cases to take place immediately, particularly where governors have issued blanket lockdown releases, and those spikes simply haven’t materialized.
Axios’ COVID-19 diagnosis map shows that most states are now over the “curve” and past the “peak” of coronavirus cases, with many states seeing decreases of more than 30% in just the last two weeks. The notable exception is South Dakota, which is suffering through a handful of isolated coronavirus outbreaks, largely in meat processing and packing plants.
The outlet compared two straight weeks of coronavirus reports in order to “eliminate” what they consider to be differing variables between states. Some states are still working on expanding testing for the virus, others limit who can be tested, and some states are having difficulty reporting granular data about outbreaks.
Because of the way coronavirus lies dormant in a victim before it produces symptoms — in some cases for up to a week — experts expected Wednesday’s news to bring big spikes in states under the spotlight, like Georgia, Florida, and Texas, which “opened up” almost completely last Friday. In Florida, most beaches and public areas are now open and in Georgia and Texas, many person-to-person services are allowed to reopen and restaurants can allow seated dining, rather than just delivery or takeout.
“Florida’s new cases have actually declined by 14% compared to the previous week, and Georgia’s fell by 12%,” Axios reported.
Georgia, of course, defied even President Donald Trump in deciding to release lockdowns completely. Its results may change, but the initial look appears hopeful. Axios notes that “[n]one of this means any state is in the clear — as more businesses open and more people venture back out into the world, the risk of a second wave grows. But it’s an encouraging early sign.”
Per local outlets, Texas diagnoses are steady. There have been 1,000 new cases in Texas per day for the last five days, showing little change from lockdown to opening. On Wednesday, though, the state appeared to see a “slight decrease” in new cases, according to reporter Nicole Russell.
Texas opened up about 10 days ago. Slight decrease in new cases. Hopeful news. pic.twitter.com/TNkIdbu3zT
— Nicole Russell (@russell_nm) May 13, 2020
In Florida, experts excitedly pointed to a sudden spike in coronavirus cases earlier this week as evidence Florida’s decision to lift the lockdown was a failure, but, the Miami Herald now reports, that spike was part of an outbreak affecting Miami nuring homes — a now-familiar scenario across the country.
Instead of rescinding the lockdown lift, Florida now says it will mandate testing in nursing and other adult care facilities and provide sick pay for low wage nursing home caregivers.
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