The US hit over 2 million confirmed cases of Covid-19 late on Wednesday night, just 6 weeks after it reached the grim milestone of 1 million cases. While this past week has seen some of the lowest nationwide death tolls since late March, certain parts of the country are experiencing record hospitalizations and new hotspots have emerged.
As of June 11, there are over 7.3 million confirmed cases worldwide, over a quarter of which are in the US. According to data gathered by Johns Hopkins University, the US has recorded over 115,000 deaths related to Covid-19.
A complex picture is building up in the States. On the one hand, there were 453 reported deaths in the US on Sunday, June 7, the lowest since March 28. On the other hand, states such as Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina have seen significant spikes in hospitalizations this week, according to the Atlantic’s COVID Tracking Project. Covid-19 hospitalizations have also risen in Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, Oregon, and Utah.
Data reported by the Washington Post on Monday also showed that 14 states and Puerto Rico — including Alaska, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah — have recently recorded their highest-ever 7-day average of new cases since the pandemic began.
Furthermore, some are fearing the country could be on the verge of a fresh spike of new infections after Memorial Day celebrations followed by anti-lockdown protests and nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality, both of which saw large crowds of people gathering. Lockdown measures were also eased last month with many parts of the country relaxing some restrictions of schools, businesses, transit systems, and other industries.
"We're really the only major country in the world that opened back up without really getting our cases as down low as we really needed to," Dr Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, told CNN in an interview on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
"Even if we don't have increasing cases, even if we keep things flat, it's reasonable to expect that we're going to hit 200,000 deaths sometime during the month of September," Dr Jha said. "And that's just through September. The pandemic won't be over in September."
"I'm really worried about where we're going to be in the weeks and months ahead."
Elsewhere in the world, Brazil has the next highest number of confirmed cases with over 772,400 Covid-19 infections, followed by Russia with over 493,023 confirmed cases, the UK with over 291,000 confirmed cases, and India has 276,583.
“In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world,” said Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and White House adviser, on Tuesday during a cyber conference held by the Biotechnology Innovation Organization where he called the virus his "worst nightmare", the Guardian reports.
“And it isn’t over yet.”