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U.S. COVID-19 Death Toll Surpassed 100,000 on May 27

May 28, 2020 (EIRNS)—“Another Harrowing Milestone,” is the way Fox News described the fact that the United States surpassed 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 on May 27. Of those, 23,000 are in New York and 11,100 in New Jersey—in other words, the two states have one-third of the national total. Even though the daily U.S. death toll is now dropping, with 500 deaths reported on May 25, the lowest daily figure since March 28, there is little question that the entire country is dealing with a traumatic shock from the pandemic—medically, economically, and psychologically.

The immediate question is whether or not the loosening underway will unleash a new spike and second wave of COVID-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, was circumspect in an interview yesterday with PBS’s Judy Woodruff, saying that as we “try to gradually and prudently try to reopen the country to a little bit more normality” there will inevitably be some increase in cases and deaths. “The real critical issue, Judy, is how you respond to that, how you can have the resources in place to be able to identify, isolate, contact trace, so a blip doesn’t become a surge.” He reiterated that “I have always been publicly skeptical about that [those who say that enough tests are now being performed]. But, right now, what I’m seeing is that the kinds of testing availability is getting better and better. And, as the weeks go by, I believe strongly that we’re going to be able to address that.”

Asked if “it is going to be safe for states to open up, as long as they do it carefully?” Fauci responded: “I do think so.” He also said: “I’m cautiously optimistic that we would have a vaccine towards the end of this year and the beginning of next year.... So, my cautious hope and optimism is that, as we get into the fall, we will be able to control the inevitable return of infection. Anybody that thinks it’s not going to come back in the fall is not being realistic. It’s how you handle it that determines whether or not you have a second wave.”

Dr. Sarah Cody, the Santa Clara County, California health official widely credited for getting the Bay Area to lock down way before other parts of the country (March 16), and thereby significantly suppress infections and death, has stated her opposition to the idea of relaxing measures too quickly. She said that the new California state policy of allowing gatherings of up to 100 people in religious venues and elsewhere is premature (and will not be implemented in Santa Clara and a bunch of neighboring counties): it poses a “very serious risk” that, if only one person is contagious, it would overwhelm the ability to carry out contact tracing. She said there has to be a strict 14-day (and preferably 21-day) waiting period between each step, to make sure everything is under control. She also said this premature lifting endangers Blacks and Latinos more than other groups, because of their greater social vulnerability, poverty, etc.

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