On Friday, the same day that Vice President Mike Pence bragged about how we had purportedly “flattened the curve” of the covid-19 pandemic, the United States set a record high of new confirmed coronavirus cases.
Speaking to The Today Show this weekend, global health expert Dr. Ashish Jha blamed the alarming spike in coronavirus infections on the hasty, irresponsible efforts of many state governments to reopen their economies before it was safe to do so.
“This is happening because much of the country around Memorial Day and the weeks that followed…opened up while we still had a large number of cases,” said Jha, who serves as the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. “We opened up too fast. We opened up bars, we opened up nightclubs, and [it] is the combination of all that that has led us to where we are today.”
It’s hard to argue with Jha when you look at where the new cases are coming from. According to NBC News’ analysis, at least 9,500 new infections were confirmed in Florida alone on Saturday alone. Florida, if you remember, reopened back in May. Attempting to slow the spread of the virus, many counties in the Sunshine State have started to close down their beaches once more.
A startling number of new infections have also appeared in Arizona and Texas, both of which reopened in May. As of Friday, Arizona has the highest per capita rate of cases of any state with more than 400 confirmed per 100,000 residents, per NBC News.
Nearly 125,000 are confirmed to have died of covid-19 in the U.S., per the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We’re expected to reach 2.5 million total cases by weekend’s end, the BBC reports.