“What we hope is that we can take it seriously and slow down transmission in these places,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, deputy chief director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “But what I think is very discouraging is clearly that we are not at a point where so little virus is spreading that it will be easy to expel.”
The United States has reported over 2.5 million virus cases and at least 126,140 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. State and local leaders said that the increase in cases is partly driven by meetings, both in homes and in places like bars – that some experts have called the perfect breeding ground for the virus.
But experts have long warned that some states have reopened too early and too quickly, feeling the move could lead to multiple spikes in cases.
Only two states see a decline in new cases
The rethinking of how to safely reopen the United States comes when new cases in at least 36 states are trending higher than the previous week, according to Johns Hopkins data.
States reporting an increase in new cases include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri , Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Twelve states are walking steadily in new cases: Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Virginia.
Two report a decline in new cases: New Jersey and Rhode Island.
The next two weeks are critical, says the mayor of Los Angeles
In Los Angeles, the the county health director said officials “did not expect to see such a rapid increase.”
Since it began reopening several weeks ago, Los Angeles has seen an alarming increase in cases and hospitalizations, said health director Barbara Ferrer. There are now a total of over 100.00 confirmed cases, with a one-day high of 2,903 new cases reported on Monday.
The next two weeks will be critical, said Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday.
“This period will be our second big test to see whether or not we can do things, all the wisdom we have learned, apply them collectively and make sure we do our part to keep people alive and to maintain livelihoods,” he said.
With the current rate of increases, Los Angeles hospital beds are likely to reach capacity within a few weeks, said director of health services, Dr. Christina Ghaly.
“The number of hospital beds could become inadequate in the coming weeks,” said Ghaly. There are only enough fans in the county to last four weeks and Ghaly says the county’s projections show a marked increase in mortality rates.
In southern California’s Riverside County, approximately 96% of all ICU beds are in use, officials said.
Over the weekend, the county reported that its ICU bed capacity reached 99%, largely due to overflow from nearby imperial county. 370 ICU beds are currently in use, down 3% from the weekend.
“We barely survived the first arrest”
Meanwhile, climbing in some cases means that many companies across the country have been forced to shut down a second time, which some owners believe may be devastating.
In Texas, after the governor ordered bar closings again last week, a Houston owner told CNN to file for unemployment.
And after Florida suspended on-site alcohol consumption, a Jacksonville bar said it was concerned about what it would mean to close the doors a second time.
“We barely survived the first arrest and once we were allowed to reopen in Phase 2, we were very strict in following all the guidelines of the CDC,” said a spokesman for the Volstead bar.
“Our expectation is that our numbers will be worse next week,” Governor Doug Ducey said on Monday. “It will take several weeks for the mitigations we are putting into effect to take effect.”
CNN’s Cheri Mossburg, Alexandra Meeks, Sarah Moon and Naomi Thomas contributed to this report.