As lockdown restrictions are released, and social distancing is blown away by riots and rallies, the virus is coming back in some parts.
Two weeks after restrictions were partially released and the BLM rallies took place in Melbourne, the surge comes. Actual spread at the BLM rallies is hard to pin down but the rank hypocrisy that allowed the rallies to take place skewered the community commitment to social distancing. With thousands congregating, almost entirely without fines and in breach of the rules, no wonder family gatherings grew. People had given up so much during the lockdown, but indulgent rally organizers could not delay the rallies by another month, or shift them to an online form.
Among a new string of coronavirus cases in Victoria are people who knew they were infected but continued to work and socialise anyway, Premier Daniel Andrews has revealed. The state will reintroduce restrictions after recording another 25 new coronavirus cases in the past day, with concerns that a second wave of COVID-19 is possible.
Blaming families seems a bit rich given the flagrant disregard shown by protestors and the politicians, academics and journalists that enabled them.
The outbreak in Victoria doesn’t look like much of a second wave compared to the first one. Indeed, it doesn’t look much different to the bump on May 5th. But the big difference is that the May 5 bump was largely due to the meatworks cluster, and a couple of others. This latest jump in numbers is more sinister because it is more widely spread and much harder to contact trace.
Other states in Australia may have dodged a bullet if the rallies came after community spread was near zero. Some states appear to be free to rally away.
Readers outside Australia may marvel that 25 new cases qualifies as a problem, but here is a big distance between some community spread and none at all, with 97% of normal life, travel, business and socialization beckoning, as opposed to 20 person limits at restaurants and bars. This will be heartbreaking for some businesses.
By acting fast, hopefully Victoria can join the rest of the country again soon.
Second wave in Florida
Two weeks after reopening the state the numbers are up dramatically. Though testing has doubled since May, so that explains some of the rise, but test-rate positivity has risen too. One expert cites a general fatigue with social distancing and the lack of masks., but there were BLM rallies in Florida too likely skewering the mood for social distancing. Not many people seem to be mentioning that.
Tourists are also arriving. The Republican Governor, who was trumpeting their success a few weeks ago, claims the numbers are up due to extra tests and cluster outbreaks in places like prisons and farms (one watermelon farm has 90 positive tests out of 100). But with 4,000 new cases a day, that’s a lot of clusters.
Richard Luscome, The Guardian
The rise in Florida’s figures, with close to 90,000 cases and deaths surpassing 3,000, comes as the majority of its 67 counties reach the end of the second week of DeSantis’s “safe, smart, step-by-step” reopening plan.
“… experts at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania to conclude that Florida has “all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission”. “
Fortunately, deaths are not rising as quickly at the moment, because the cases are younger.
As for “more testing” — the rise in the rate of positive tests is very consistent. And the timing doesn’t fit.
Clearly, this is not just an increase in tests.
Molly Olmstead, Slate
Cindy Prins, [an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Florida] noted that, anecdotally, a lot of Floridians appear to have given up on wearing masks.
Public health experts are familiar with the phenomenon she is describing: caution fatigue. One of the main reasons experts think Florida avoided a catastrophic epidemic in the first place is because its public began staying home before it was ordered to do so. But now, mentally exhausted after three months of stress, even residents in the hardest-hit parts of the country have grown complacent.
Second wave in Israel
Israel has gone from 16 cases a day four weeks ago to 250 cases a day now. Hospital wings are reopening. Israeli stocks are falling.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
“Israel is entering a second wave of the coronavirus illness and we have to take immediate and urgent steps connected to enforcement and to stopping the loosening [of regulations] in order to prevent the need for another lockdown a month from now,” according to an official statement released Saturday evening by Israel’s National Center for Information and Knowledge in the Battle Against the Coronavirus.
Rina Bassist Jun 2, 2020
Thousands of students in the towns of Jerusalem, Hadera and Beersheba on June 1 were sent home to isolate after teachers in their schools were diagnosed with the coronavirus. Education Minister Yoav Galant said any school found with active cases of the virus must immediately close down.
Israel’s health authorities are expressing concern in recent days over a surge in coronavirus infections all across the country, especially in schools and preschools. According to recent data, some 5,000 students, teachers and staff are now isolating at home.