3 Reasons Why COVID-19 Cases Are Increasing

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: July 27, 2020

In the weeks following the reopening of some U.S. cities, COVID-19 has roared back with a vengeance. The soaring case numbers are worrisome and threaten to overwhelm hospital systems in some of the hardest-hit states. Public health officials point to state reopenings, increased testing, community spread, and individual behavior as likely causes for the surge.
  1. State reopenings.
    In April, the federal government released guidelines to reopen the country, which included a recommendation of a 14-day decline of confirmed cases or a decline of positive tests before reopening. However, some states, eager to jump-start their economies, opened before fully meeting those guidelines.

    Hot spots like Arizona and Texas are experiencing a spike in cases, and some states are setting new single-day highs for cases. To help slow the rise of infections, many states are pausing the next phase or rolling back their reopenings. Recently, states, including North Carolina, Louisiana, and Connecticut, have announced timeline delays. In Florida’s hard-hit Miami-Dade County, officials have imposed an overnight curfew and will close some businesses that opened just weeks ago.
  2. Increased testing and community spread.
    According to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, the rate of tests coming back with positive results are rising. But increased testing does not account for the full rise in cases in the U.S. There are signs of increased community spread, which is when someone gets the virus and health officials can’t identify where or how the patient was infected. In a recent video conference hosted by the Atlantic Council, White House Coronavirus Response Coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx said that the U.S. underestimated the surge in cases and spread by mostly the 18 to 35 year old age group.
  3. Behavior of individuals
    Actions of various Americans have also impacted the increase in transmission. A recent study found that the use of masks is the most effective way to reduce person-to-person transmissions. And yet, public health officials cite a return to pre-pandemic behavior where there is little adherence to mask-wearing and an erosion in social distancing as a reason for the spread. Some people will ignore the guidelines, and some will still attend large gatherings and parties despite the known risk.

    The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for events and gatherings to encourage behavior to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC states the more people an individual interacts with at a gathering and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and COVID-19 spreading.

While the number of deaths is now at a lower rate than when the virus initially hit, early research suggests that those infected will experience long-term complications down the road, even if they don’t experience severe symptoms during their illness. Until a vaccine is discovered, the best you can do is follow CDC Guidelines to protect yourself and others by washing hands frequently, avoiding close contact, and covering your nose and mouth with a mask or face covering when around others.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.