“Too Many Are Selfish”: U.S. Nears 5 Million Virus Cases

“Hay demasiada gente egoísta”: EE.UU. se acerca a los 5 millones de casos confirmados de COVID-19

Fourth of July gatherings, graduation parties, no-mask weddings, crowded bars — there are reasons the U.S. has racked up more than 155,000 coronavirus deaths, by far the most of any country, and is fast approaching an off-the-charts 5 million confirmed infections, easily the highest in the world.

Many Americans have resisted wearing masks and social distancing, calling such precautions an overreaction or an infringement on their liberty. Public health experts say the problem has been compounded by confusing and inconsistent guidance from politicians and a patchwork quilt of approaches to containing the scourge by county, state, and federal governments.

“The thing that’s maddening is country after country and state after state have shown us how we can contain the virus,” said Dr. Jonathan Quick of the Duke Global Health Institute. “It’s not like we don’t know what works. We do.”

Confirmed infections in the U.S. have topped 4.7 million, with new cases running at more than 60,000 a day. While that’s down from a peak of well over 70,000 in the second half of July, cases are on the rise in 26 states, many in the South and West, and deaths are climbing in 35 states.

On average, the number of COVID-19 deaths per day in the U.S. over the past two weeks has gone from about 780 to 1,056, according to an Associated Press analysis.

In Massachusetts, health officials are investigating at least a half-dozen new clusters of cases connected to such events as a lifeguard party, a high school graduation party, a prom party, an unsanctioned football camp and a packed harbor cruise trip.

One recent house party on Cape Cod attended by as many as 60 people led to more than a dozen new cases and prompted some restaurants to close or limit service at the height of tourist season.

Hot spots around the U.S. are popping up in what once seemed like ideal places to ride out the outbreak: rural, less populated and with lots of outdoor space. In South Dakota, a spike erupted at a Christian youth summer camp in the Black Hills, with cases growing to 96 among 328 people who attended.

“We’re at a point where there’s enough spread of COVID-19 that people throughout the U.S. are at an increased likelihood of encountering the virus and getting exposed,” University of Florida epidemiologist Dr. Cindy Prins said.

She added: “This is a behavioral disease right now for a lot of people.” Prevention means “changing our behavior, and it’s so hard for humans to do. We’re social creatures.”

In Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves grudgingly reversed course and announced a statewide order requiring the wearing of masks because of a resurgence of the virus. He also delayed the start of the school year for upper grades in eight hard-hit counties.

“Wearing a mask — as irritating as it can be, and I promise you I hate it more than anyone watching today — is critical,” he said.

In Virginia, cases have surged so much in cities like Norfolk and Virginia Beach that Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam placed limits there last week on alcohol sales and gatherings of more than 50 people. Northam, the nation’s only governor who is a doctor, cited rising infections among young people and said the problem is that “too many people are selfish.”

“We all know that alcohol changes your judgment,” he said. “You just don’t care as much about social distancing after you’ve had a couple of drinks.”

Dr. Demetria Lindsay, the Virginia Department of Health’s district director for Virginia Beach and Norfolk, said there has been a pronounced spike among people ages 20 to 29. She said the factors behind the surge include gatherings of people not wearing masks or maintaining a safe distance.

“Father’s Day, Memorial Day, graduations, birthdays, backyard barbecues, you name it,” Lindsay said.

In Brandon, South Dakota, thousands of car racing fans packed the 9,000-seat Huset’s Speedway over the weekend. Many did not cover their faces or stay away from others.

“We’re kind of over this whole COVID thing. I won’t wear a mask unless I absolutely have to,” 21-year-old Veronica Fritz said. She added: “I am a very strong Christian and I know where I’m going, and I believe God will take me when I’m supposed to go. So, if I get COVID and I die from COVID, it’s not my decision.”

Research has shown that people can spread the virus before they feel sick. Masks lower the likelihood of their respiratory droplets reaching other people.

Josie Machovec, a mother of three who is suing over a mask ordinance in Palm Beach County, Florida, said that she doesn’t believe the government has the right to require people to wear medical devices, and that she hasn’t seen clear evidence that masks stop transmission of the virus.

“I’m someone who has looked into this extensively and don’t feel that it’s the right thing for me and my kids. If we are healthy, we don’t need to be wearing them,” she said, “and if we’re not healthy, if we’re sick, then we stay home.”

In Minnesota, a group of voters sued Gov. Tim Walz and other officials to try to block a requirement that voters wear face masks at polling places.

Nearly a quarter of Wisconsin’s more than 55,000 cases had been confirmed over the past 14 days. Much of the spike has occurred in the state’s densely urban southeastern corner, but the disease has also spread with amazing speed in rural and sparsely populated northern Wisconsin.

Despite the trend, health industry software provider Epic Systems is requiring its 9,000-plus employees to return to work in person at its sprawling campus outside of Madison by Sept. 21. Workers decried the order, but company CEO Judy Faulkner defended the decision, saying better work is done on campus than from home.

Zona Wick, a spokeswoman and contact tracer for the health department in Wisconsin’s Iron County, attributed the dramatic rise in cases to July Fourth gatherings, birthday and graduation parties, out-of-county visitors and people crowding into bars.

“The Fourth of July was tough on us,” Wick said. “People had a bit of quarantine fatigue, is what I’m calling it. People got a bit tired of staying in. People just got together like they have for years on the Fourth of July and spread it to one another.”

The wedding industry likewise is seeing no-mask receptions with busy dance floors and no social distancing.

Wedding planner Lynne Goldberg has a December wedding scheduled for 200 guests at the home of the bride’s parents in upstate New York.

“They have emphatically shared that this pandemic is not going to get in the way of their wedding plans and that there will be no masks handed out and no signs promoting social distancing at their wedding,” she said. “The bride has said that when she shows her children her wedding video, she doesn’t want it to be a documentary of the 2020 pandemic.”

The Associated Press

As of Wednesday, August 5, there were 22.317 cases and 293 deaths reported in Shelby County. Of these cases, 3,592 (24%) were among the Hispanic community.
Statewide, 112.441 confirmed cases and 1,117 deaths were registered on Tuesday, August 4, according to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDH).
The number of hospitalizations and recoveries in TN was that of 4.900 and 73.259, respectively.
In addition, the Tennessee Department of Health announced on Tuesday that 16% (18.388) of the reported cases in the state are among the Hispanic population.

La Prensa Latina


Reuniones por el Día de la Independencia, fiestas de graduación, bodas sin mascarillas, bares atiborrados… hay razones por las que Estados Unidos ha acumulado más de 155.000 muertes por COVID-19, el mayor número para cualquier país, y por las que se acerca rápidamente a 5 millones de infecciones confirmadas, también la mayor cantidad en el mundo.

Muchos estadounidenses se han resistido a usar mascarillas y a mantener el distanciamiento social, calificando dichas medidas de prevención como una respuesta exagerada o una violación a su libertad. Expertos en salud pública dicen que dicho comportamiento ha sido agravado por las normas confusas e incongruentes de los políticos y por la diversidad de estrategias para contener la propagación por parte de los gobiernos condales, estatales y federal.

“Lo que es exasperante es que país tras país, estado tras estado, nos han mostrado cómo podemos contener el virus”, dijo el doctor Jonathan Quick, del Instituto de Salud Global Duke. “No es como si no supiéramos qué funciona. Lo sabemos”.

El número de infecciones confirmadas en Estados Unidos ha superado los 4,7 millones, con más de 60.000 casos nuevos al día. Aunque está por debajo del pico que superó por mucho los 70.000 casos diarios durante la segunda mitad de julio, los contagios están aumentando en 26 estados, muchos en el sur y oeste del país, y las muertes se están incrementando en 35 estados.

En promedio, el número de muertes diarias por COVID-19 en Estados Unidos durante las últimas dos semanas ha pasado de unas 780 a 1.056, según un análisis de The Associated Press.

En Massachusetts, las autoridades de salud investigan una media docena de brotes vinculados con eventos tales como una fiesta en piscina, una fiesta de graduación de secundaria, un baile de fin de curso, un campamento de fútbol americano no autorizado y un paseo en crucero.

De una reciente fiesta en casa en Cape Cod, a la que asistieron hasta 60 personas, surgieron más de una docena de casos nuevos y provocó que algunos restaurantes cerraran o limitaran su servicio en la temporada alta de turismo.

Focos de infección están surgiendo en todo Estados Unidos, en lugares que en algún momento parecían ideales para resguardarse del brote: zonas rurales, menos pobladas y con mucho espacio al aire libre. En Dakota del Sur se originó un brote en un campamento de verano para jóvenes cristianos en Black Hills, con 96 casos entre los 328 asistentes.

“Estamos en un punto en el que existe suficiente propagación de COVID-19 como para que las personas de todo el país tengan mayor probabilidad de encontrarse con el virus y resultar expuestas”, informó la doctora Cindy Prins, epidemióloga de la Universidad de Florida.

“Para muchas personas, ésta es una enfermedad conductual en este momento”, añadió. La prevención, dijo, significa “cambiar nuestra forma de pensar, y es algo muy difícil de hacer para el ser humano. Somos criaturas sociales”.

En Mississippi, el gobernador republicano Tate Reeves anunció a regañadientes una orden a nivel estatal que requiere el uso de mascarillas debido al repunte de casos de COVID-19. También demoró el inicio del ciclo escolar en los grados superiores en ocho de los condados más afectados de la entidad.

“Utilizar una mascarilla —por más irritante que sea, y les prometo que yo lo odio más que cualquier persona que está viendo esto— es fundamental”, declaró.

En Virginia, los casos han aumentado a tal grado en ciudades como Norfolk y Virginia Beach que el gobernador demócrata Ralph Northam impuso límites a la venta de alcohol y a las concentraciones de más de 50 personas en dichas localidades. Northam, el único gobernador del país con un título en Medicina, hizo mención del aumento de infecciones entre los jóvenes y señaló que el problema es que “hay demasiada gente egoísta”.

“Todos sabemos que el alcohol te nubla el juicio”, comentó. “Simplemente ya no te importa tanto mantener una distancia social después de un par de tragos”.

La doctora Demetria Lindsay, directora del Departamento de Salud para los distritos de Virginia Beach y Norfolk, indicó que se ha registrado un pronunciado aumento de infecciones entre las personas de 20 a 29 años. Dijo que entre los factores que propiciaron el aumento se encuentran las concentraciones de personas sin cubrebocas o que no guardan la distancia social.

The Associated Press

Hasta el miércoles, 5 de agosto, el número de casos confirmados en el condado de Shelby era de 22.317, con unas 293 muertes reportadas. De estos casos, 3.592 eran de hispanos, es decir, el 24% de la cifra total.
Con respecto al estado, para el martes, 4 de agosto, ya se habían registrado 112.441 casos confirmados y 1.117 muertes, de acuerdo con el Departamento de Salud de Tennessee (TDH, por sus siglas en inglés).
El número de hospitalizaciones y recuperaciones en TN era de 4.900 y 73.259, respectivamente.
Por otro lado, el Departamento de Salud de Tennessee anunció el martes que el 16% (18.388) de todos los casos reportados se encuentran en la población hispana.

La Prensa Latina

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