The riots are causing a number of media outlets to show their true colors. We have seen far more enthusiasm about what is taking place than we would like. There is only one entity that is happier about the riots than the mainstream media. COVID-19 is still a major threat and with each passing day, it becomes more and more apparent that the second wave is going to be a nasty one.
President Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator Deborah Birx is warning the rioters about their actions in a newly leaked conference call. The protesters might be wearing masks but they are negating these benefits by burning down various COVID-19 testing sites. The virus is only going to continue to spread when we do not have access to the necessary testing.
Birx is advising governors to take the proper steps now, so that they can replace these tests before it is too late. The mass gatherings that are taking place at the moment are causing problems for citizens all over the world. The protests are allowing the virus to continue spreading and the destruction is removing valuable testing sites from the equation entirely.
Speaking via conference call, a recording of which The Daily Beast obtained, Deborah Birx, Trump’s coronavirus response coordinator, relayed fears that the yelling by protesters could potentially negate the health benefits of wearing a mask, and that the destruction of testing sites at those protests would set back efforts to contain the virus’ spread. Birx said 70 such sites had been destroyed, which had already resulted in an appreciable drop in testing rates there. She advised governors to “scramble now to make sure there is testing available in urban areas.”
While Birx offered some reassurance by saying that she had not seen evidence that the Memorial Day parties had caused an increased spread, she did go on to say that renewed community spread was taking place in various states. North Carolina, Arizona and California are among the states that are currently enduring an increased spread.
Birx noted that while all states had dramatically increased testing, three states—California, Arizona, and North Carolina—had seen positive test results rise at the same time; an ominous sign about the virus’ trajectory. “That makes us quite concerned,” Birx said. Pointing specifically to increased cases in Phoenix, Charlotte, and in Salt Lake City, she said it was her belief that “there is active community spread in California, North Carolina, Utah, and Arizona.”
Birx noted, in particular, that her team had seen data that showed community spread in “metro Hispanic neighborhoods,” and she urged governors to ensure that the communities there knew that “there are tests, and tests are free.”
Birx wants governors to test in all of the urban areas that are currently in trouble. Nate Silver has noted that these outbreaks do not appear to be as horrific as the initial spread that took place back in March and April. Multiple states are over the 1.0 mark when it comes to their transmission rate but not by much. These numbers give us hope that we are not going to slide backwards into a full scale lockdown.
This is not the time to panic but it is time to be concerned. People may want to believe that the worst is over. It’s understandable. Folks want to get back to their normal lives and wearing masks outside during the summertime is hardly comfortable. The red states should be especially concerned. These are the states that were looking to open the earliest and out of the 12 states with a 1.0 transmission rate, 10 are red.
Something I don't think is appreciated is the extent to which current coronavirus spread in the US is occurring at a medium-high level in many places, as opposed to a super-high level in some places.
At the peak in NYC, an estimated 11% of people had an active COVID infection!
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 10, 2020
Other places were also VERY high. 5% were simultaneously infected in New Orleans, Boston and Detroit at their peaks.
When this many people are sick at once, you really notice it. Why? Friends and family get it. You may have to self-quarantine, etc.https://t.co/A5Pfpmbqt3
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 10, 2020
Arizona and Texas wanted to open on Memorial Day and from the looks of these numbers? They are now paying the price. This is not a coincidence. There’s been an uptick in hospitalizations in many of the states that decided to let their citizens enjoy some much needed socialization. At the moment, it would be hard to attribute this uptick to the protests. The current information aligns with the COVID-19 incubation period.
I don't share the purely cumulative chart often since it's arguably misleading. But seeing the turn from linear to exponential that has occurred since the end of May is important. Simply, put, this line must bend the other way. pic.twitter.com/gHF0KGwZKg
— The AZ – abc15 – Data Guru (@Garrett_Archer) June 10, 2020
In a few weeks, the story could be vastly different and only time will tell if the protesters’ masks were able to protect them. The national attention span has drifted away from the virus recently and that is definitely going to change in the weeks to come. Birx’s claim about a noticeable drop in testing rates in the area with destroyed testing centers is also not passing the smell test at the moment.
Only time will tell how much damage the protesters have done when it comes to the spread of the virus. People are clearly nervous at the moment but all we can do is keep doing what we were doing. It makes us wonder how many facilities were “ruined” and how many simply needed a day or two to clean up minor damages.
As for the White House, the president seems to have moved on. He’s already looking to hold a rally and is reportedly having one in Tulsa next Friday. We cannot wait to see what Birx has to say about these rallies (which will be held indoors, unlike the protests). We’re sure that the tune is going to change.