As US Covid-19 circumstances rise above 2.5m, is the nation present process a second wave? – BBC Newsnight

published on July 8, 2020

The White House is still very muchlocked down the fences that were brieflyremoved have gone up again the rest ofthe country is opening up but the numberof cases of the novel coronavirus is nowrapidly rising if we look at the figuresfrom johns hopkins university we can see

That the early cases came from new yorkand neighboring new jersey but as thathot spot called we're now seeing aflare-up in Florida Texas California andArizona so what's behind thisextraordinary rise in cases in the

United States this of course being anelection year everyone has a narrativeincluding the man who lives in the housebehind me the president maintains thatthe rise in cases is simply a reflectionof the success of the testing regime

He's put in place more tests find morecases so we do all these tests and wefind pockets so we find people and wefind cases and they say the cases havejob instead of saying what a job we'redoing with testing the data suggests

Some support for the president's view ifwe take the state's driving the increasein cases Florida Texas California andArizona we can indeed see that thenumber of cases is surging however whenwe switch to looking at the number of

Deathsthere's been no spike at least not yetin Florida for example the number ofdaily deaths is in the mid 30s that'sbelow the 50 or so deaths a day in earlyMay and well below the nearly

One-thousand daily deaths that we saw inNew York but according to someepidemiologists deaths might soon risethe first thing that you begin to see isa higher rate of positives among peoplewho are being tested for the virus and

Then you see higher rate of people whohave clinical illness then you see morehospitalizations and then unfortunatelyyou see deaths you expect to see a surgein deaths in a week or so 10 days time Ido I do expect to see a certain of

Deaths hopefully not as huge of a surgeas we would have if healthcare isoverwhelmed so all eyes are on hospitalslike Houston Methodist at the epicenterof the new Texas outbreak they arenearing capacity without ICU beds if it

Stated this rate you know I feel prettygood for you know a good couple of weeksbefore we start to really stressourselves a lot if it startsaccelerating more of course that becomesmore of a challenges what we're seeing

That concerns us even more honestly isthat the virus seems to be spreadingrapidly through the community when wetest patients were seeing far morepeople testing positive far more peoplerequiring testing and when they do get a

Test the positivity rates have gone upfrom you know a low of 3 or 4% back inthe middle of May to now 24 25 pluspercent each day and so that obviouslycauses a lot of concern for where thingsare going in the future

Houston was of course George Floyd'shometown and saw a huge surge inprotests following his death a month agohow much are these protests responsiblefor the rise in cases right acrossAmerica one clue might be the fact that

The median age of cases has dropped frommid 60's to mid 30s I cannot help butthink that the protests could provide anopportunity for spreading the virusyou're out there with others and peopleare yelling and they seem to be

Sometimes close to each otherhowever strongest evidence fortransmission right now has to do withbars and restaurants and other indoorlocations in a few days America goesinto its national birthday celebrations

Here in Washington the mayor hascanceled the usual July the 4thfestivities but across the United Statesin parks on beaches and in backyards itmay be a very different story wellindeed that was David Grossman we're

Heading to Texas now joining us now themayor of Wichita Falls in Texas StephenSantana what are we seeing mayor SantaLana in Wichita Falls itself now you'veseen that an increased number of casesand that's due to the opening up for the

Economy the governor opened up bars fromrestaurants againand we knew there was gonna be a spikewe feared a little different than mostof our cities our size but right nowwe're starting to see those numbers come

Up why did the governor open up forbusiness if you weren't seeing covertfall in the first place you know I thinkthere was a lot of pressure to get theeconomy back open you know there is acost to the economy you know a death

Cost to the economy going down wherepoverty levels go up and you startseeing a an increase in deaths fordifferent reasons I think maybe a littlepolitical pressure led to us opening theeconomy a little sooner than we wanted

But also when you're doing well youthink you can continue to do well in itright now it's not showing to be thatway so if it carries on like this andwish to Falls is a small place from whatI hear and quite a lot of pressure what

What choices do you actually have asmayor there we don't have a lot we'vehad a lot of the power that we haveemergency times stripped from us andgive them back to the states so now wehave we call these blanket orders these

Blanket orders for the whole state ofTexas Texas is a big state so it doesn'tfare well for my community if I'm notable to take care of my community away Ithink I would see fit so right now we'reworking on the governor's orders and he

Has given us some power back onrestrictions of having advanced over ahundred where we have to approve thoseevents but other than that we're reallyrunning on the governor's orders thereseems to be a divide in terms of how

People are respondingfor example even something as sort of apolitical as mask-wearing has somehowgot a kind of machismo to it now whatare you finding on the ground there wellit seems a political maybe to a lot of

People but here we're in a veryconservative part of Texas veryconservative part of the nation whereyou're almost split it's people thinkingthat you're taking away civil rights orconstitutional right to wear what they

Want so a lot of politicians have foundthemselves making this a political issuesomething as simple as wearing a mask orsomething as simple as it's requiringanybody to wash their hands or theirclothes or businesses something that you

Would think would not be political isvery political in this part of ourcountry so what do you say as mayor thenif you want people to wear masks or washtheir hands or socially distance woodywhat

Do you have you know it's it's one ofthose things where I'm gonna follow mygovernor we're gonna we're gonna respectthat office but the sense that if mycommunity I have a responsibility as anelected official to take care of my

Community so my community's not verywell and we start seeing an uptick thesekoban cases and the kernel buyer spreadsthroughout my community faster than wecan handle them you know we don't wantto inundate the hospitals but well you

Know we know there's gonna be a spreadit's gonna be something that I'm gonnahave to really take a hard look at andwhere I need to take care of mycommunity I would like to take care ofthe hundred thousand people here so I

Might have to go against thosegovernor's orders or do something alittle different that will though bebeyond what he is allowing us to do andyou said the governor himself might havebeen under pressure politically do you

Have you had clear messaging from thetop on this or do you believe that thepresident is instructing governor's whatto do how would you like to see itworking you know it's that's a hard oneyou would think the president is getting

Involved and you know he does he makesthose calls in the States and I thinkthe governor just like any electedofficial bills political pressure fromboth sides basically you know they havea lot of officials state representatives

State senators that that voice theiropinion to the governor I think he feelsa lot of pressure and a lot of decisionshe's making he's now having backtrack onbecause he made these decisions and nowhe's knowing that the state is not doing

Well much like a new broadcaster talkingabout Texas Florida California's a lotof states that aren't doing well so youhave to do well for the community so Ithink that the governor of course feelsthat pressure in it and of course it's

Political it's always going to bepolitical but I think we use a lot ofcommon sense and we use a lot of goodinformation from a lot of people aroundusI know governor does think that medicine

Tianna we wish you well and thanks verymuch for joining us here news nightthank you so much for having me

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