Second Wave Of Covid-19 Has Begun In The U.S. – But Not Everyone Cares, And They Would Pay The Price

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Jun 15 2020
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Donald Trump will be in Oklahoma this week. Seeking re-election in November, he has little choice but to resume his massive campaign rallies after a three-month hiccup thanks to the Coronavirus shutdown. And you can bet your last dollar that he will not be wearing any mask. As a former reality TV star, he knew when to create an image of a strong alpha leader – fearless and invincible.


As his approval rating drops like a rock for his mishandling of Covid-19 and mismanagement of police brutality protests and riots, he has more reason not to be seen as a weak leader. However, his refusal to lead by example could see tonnes of poor souls being sent to hospitals as health experts cautioned against large gatherings such as political rallies during the pandemic.


The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday urged organizers of large gatherings that involve “shouting, chanting or singing” to strongly encourage the use of cloth face coverings to lower the risk of spreading the virus. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said – “The social distancing must be observed. Face coverings in key places must be observed.”

Coronavirus - President Donald Trump Visits Honeywell Mask-Making Plant

Yet, Kudlow appeared to be inconsistent when asked if Trump’s Saturday’s mega rally in Tulsa should wear masks, saying – “Well, OK, probably so.” Exactly how could Trump’s supporters be encouraged to wear face masks when their president does not think wearing one is absolutely necessary? There’s something which Trump probably doesn’t want his supporters to know.


A second wave of Coronavirus has started in the U.S., but Trump administration prefers not to talk about it in order not to affect their coming rallies. William Schaffner, a professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said – “The second wave has begun. We’re opening up across the country, but many, many people are not social distancing. Many are not wearing their masks.”


According to data from Johns Hopkins University, nearly 2.1 million people have been infected and more than 115,000 people have died due to the pandemic in America. About 22 states, including Arkansas, Arizona, North Carolina and Texas have reported spikes in Covid-19 cases as lockdown is eased and businesses are re-opened throughout the nation.

Coronavirus - Covid-19 Second Wave - Cartoon

Most of the 10 hardest-hit states that have seen rising cases started reopening on or before May 8. Louisiana, where cases have started rising again, began reopening on May 15. In Arizona, more than 1,400 people believed to be infected were hospitalized on Friday, up from 755 a month earlier. Texas saw 2,166 Covid-19 patients hospitalized on the same day – the most in that state.


Florida, the state that slowly began to re-open in May, reported a new daily record high of 2,581 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 – exceeds 2,000 cases for a second day in a row – and effectively pushes the state’s total number of confirmed cases at 73,552 since the pandemic began in March. The state’s death toll increased by 48 to 2,925.


While many health experts have repeatedly said that wearing a face mask can reduce the spread of Covid-19, in general, state governors refuse to make it a mandatory to do so simply because they do not want to offend their voters. Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, for example, argued that it wouldn’t be enforceable and “it’s just not Arkansas.”

Coronavirus - Americans Wants Freedom Rejects Lockdown

On Friday, the U.S. CDC warned that states may need to re-implement the strict social distancing measures that were put in place earlier this year – if Coronavirus cases rise “dramatically.” However, despite acknowleging that the second wave has begun, Professor Schaffner admitted he “cannot imagine” a second shutdown is possible after the impact of the first one.


Schaffner said – “The complete shutdown was such a financial disaster, and had so many social and cultural implications that I cannot imagine we’ll have a shutdown again.” He said while wearing masks is “very important”, the authorities as well as businesses and religious leaders should persuade and educate people to promote mask wearing and social distancing.


But should not Americans understand by now the risk of not wearing masks and congregate in large numbers when the pandemic is not yet over? According to Jennifer Rohn, a cell biologist at University College, London, a second wave of Coronavirus infections is no longer a matter of “if” – but of “when, and how devastating”. There were other studies that say a second wave is imminent.

Spanish Flu - Influenza Patients

A study headed by Dr. Kristine A. Moore, medical director at the University of Minnesota, included pandemic experts from Harvard and Tulane universities, says that if Covid-19 follows the pattern of the 1918 Spanish flu, the Covid-19 pandemic will most likely last up to 2 years. And its second wave could be worse. It’s simply arrogance for any country to ignore the prospect of a second wave.


Even countries with one of the most effective strategies to tackle the pandemic through extensive testing, tracing and lockdown management – such as South Korea – have seen spikes and clusters of cases. In May, the country shuts all night clubs and bars in Seoul after a new cluster emerged. The country did not think twice about reimposing measures when new clusters are detected.


Likewise, China swiftly carried out mass testing after 36 of China’s 57 new cases on Sunday were linked to a wholesale food market in the district of Xinfadi in the capital of Beijing. More than 10,000 people have been tested in the area. The capital suspended sports events and tourism effective immediately. The district had locked down 11 neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the market.

Coronavirus - Respiratory System

Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, called the upcoming Trump rally “an extraordinarily dangerous move for participants”. The Trump’s rally will be held indoors, at a 19,000-seat arena, essentially the recipe for disaster as scientists believe the Covid-19 virus spreads far more easily in crowded enclosed spaces than it does outdoors.


Trump’s rallies, which will consist lots of shouting, cheering and chanting – even dancing – would be hard to control as they normally sit side by side or stand shoulder to shoulder and the die-hard fans sometimes met with violence before they are removed by security. To make matters worse, some of Trump’s supporters travel across the country from rally to rally.


From debating over the effectiveness about the mask to questioning the enforceable of the mask under the U.S. law, American protesters have resisted social distancing guidance and mask wearing. It got so bad that government officials had to rescind a mandatory mask order for local restaurants and businesses after employees were threatened and verbally abused by stubborn customers.

Coronavirus - New York United States

Now, here’s the scary part. Polly J. Price, a professor of law and global health at Emory University, says the situation in America now mirrors what happened during the 1918 Spanish flu outbreak. Like now, everyone was advised to wear a mask 100 years ago. Of course, it was not a mandatory because it was up to state and local governments to enforce it.


To make matters worse, the widespread civil unrest and anti-racism protests in the country, which enters third weeks since the killing of George Floyd – an unarmed Black man who was pinned to the ground by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota – provides the perfect platform for Covid-19 to spread.


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