Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with Donald Trump at the White House, April 28, 2020
The White House is reviewing an analysis of rising Coronavirus cases in the southern US, following the quick lifting of stay-at-home and social distancing measures by governors.
The study, from PolicyLab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is being analyzed by the White House Coronavirus team.
PolicyLab has already projected that if officials reopened businesses and public spaces quickly in mid-May, hundreds if not thousands more coronavirus cases would be reported each day by August 1.
The new model evaluates that in Texas, Florida, Alabama, and Virginia — all of whom have recently lifting restrictions — the risk for resurgence is high over the next four weeks.
The study projects that the daily Coronavirus cases in Florida’s Miami-Dade County will surge from 232 to 785 over the next four weeks. Nearby Broward County’s cases will soar from 68 to 211. In Dallas County in Texas, the rise will be from 233 to 715; in Alabama, Montgomery Country will move from 35 to 216 and Mobile County from 31 to 366.
PolicyLab’s doctors wrote on Wednesday:
The key now is understanding the resurgence risk as social distancing begins to change. The picture our models are painting for Texas and Florida provide ample evidence to others who would choose to move too quickly.
The White House’s medical advisors, notably Dr. Anthony Fauci, have repeated warned of a second wave of the virus if measures are removed too soon. But Donald Trump, concerned about the stock market and his re-election bid, is demanding a fast “re-opening”.
While almost all US states are now implementing some easing of restrictions, Republican governors in southern states have been far more aggressive in their approach. At the start of May, Georgia began reopening businesses, including tattoo and massage parlors, on April 30. South Carolina reopened beaches, and Tennessee lifted many restrictions at the same time. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, recently feted in the White House by Donald Trump, opened beaches, gyms, salons, and theme parks as well as retail shops.
Cases of Coronavirus, which takes about two weeks from exposure to signs of infection, have risen in those areas. Florida passed 2,000 deaths this week. Georgia’s toll is almost 1,700, and more than 3,000 cases have been recorded since May 15. Texas’s rate of daily cases has risen by more than 25% since May 1.