In the latest coronavirus news, the Chief of the World Health Organization warns of a “new and dangerous phase” in the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on to learn more.
Coronavirus News: New and Dangerous Phase
Relaxing Restrictions and Re-opening Economies
As different countries around the world transition out of COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns to jumpstart their economies, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns of a new and dangerous phase of the pandemic.
In this phase, businesses are opening up, and people are getting tired of staying at home. Unfortunately, very little has changed on the pandemic front: community transmissions are still occurring, and infection can still lead to severe complications (or death).
The coronavirus has already infected 8.9 million people around the world. It has also taken more than 467,000 lives worldwide.
Raising Cases Around the World
In the past two weeks, the number of daily COVID-19 cases has increased in over 80 countries. While only 36 countries report a decline in daily confirmed cases.
Even China and South Korea, who seemed to have their infection rates under control, report a new surge of cases in Beijing and Seoul. Costa Rica, Sweden, and Israel are also reporting a rise in cases despite an initial decline.
Even as more and more cases are being reported in Bangladesh and Pakistan, India also made a recent move to end its nationwide lockdown.
Rising Cases in America
In the United States, over 2.3 million people have been infected with the coronavirus. New York, California, New Jersey, and Illinois report the most number of confirmed cases.
Last week, Texas joined these states as they confirmed over 15,000 new cases. This brings their total to over 100,000 cases.
Experts note a sharp rise in cases, especially in areas that have started lifting restrictions in the past few weeks. Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Florida hit new peaks in their number of daily confirmed cases.
New case clusters were linked to churches in Oregon, Alabama, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. There are also reports of clusters from a fast-food chain, an auto parts store, and among university athletes.
On top of that, five Philadelphia Phillies players and three staff members tested positive for the virus. This prompted its management to shut down its training facility. The Toronto Blue Jays also closed their training facility when one of their players started to exhibit symptoms.
It isn’t just baseball, either. The Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team also had to close their training facility when three players and one staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
An increase in testing capacity may partly explain the recent surge of cases, but a rise in hospitalizations is still a cause for concern. It’s not all bad news, though. The daily death toll has gone down to 700 each day from a peak of 2,000.
Some areas seem to be able to sustain improvements, like New York and Boston. Despite these gains, some businesses remain cautious about reopening. Apple announced that it would temporarily close its retail stores in four states.
Many movie theaters will also be allowed to reopen in June, but companies vary in their safety protocols. AMC Entertainment announced that it would require their moviegoers to wear a mask, while other companies only require masks if the state mandates it.
Implementing a mask-on policy can get tricky as many Americans believe that it infringes on their liberties. The Mayor of Stillwater City, Oklahoma, had to amend their mask-on policy after citizens threatened violence against store employees for trying to enforce it.
In Michigan, a security guard was shot and killed at a Family Dollar store when he reminded a customer to put on her mask. The security guard was adhering to the Governor’s executive order requiring all retail employees and customers to wear masks.
The hesitation in wearing masks may also stem from confusion. In March, the WHO announced that masks should only be worn by people who are sick and people who are caring for the sick.
In an effort to reserve personal protective equipment supplies for medical front-liners, they announced that healthy people do not need to wear masks. These recommendations changed when it became clear that the coronavirus could be transmitted by asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus.
What are asymptomatic carriers? These are people who are infected with the virus but do not exhibit any of the usual coronavirus symptoms.
Soon after, maks-on policies and mandates were implemented in different states. All of this happened within a span of three months, and these conflicting messages may contribute to the resistance.
Scientists and researchers are working tirelessly to develop a vaccine, but even if clinical trials have begun, it’s still months away at best. Much is still unknown about the coronavirus, but here’s what the experts do know:
- The coronavirus is usually spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.
- People spread these droplets when they sneeze, cough, or talk.
- These droplets can enter your body through your mouth or nose.
- Asymptomatic carriers can also spread the coronavirus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend the following preventive measures:
- Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Practice social distancing around sick people and people you don’t live with. Try to maintain 6 feet distance between other people.
- Wear a cloth mask that covers your mouth and nose when you’re out in public.
- Use a tissue when you can and dispose of it right away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze inside of your elbow. Always wash your hands after.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly.
- Monitor your health. Contact your health provider if you exhibit coronavirus symptoms.
As areas continue to reopen, experts warn that the risks of infection may increase. It’s essential to stay safe and remain vigilant.
What are your thoughts on this next phase? Share them with us in the comments section below.