As many developed countries have finally gotten their arms around the COVID-19 pandemic, the United States remains in crisis ― and, in many states, is getting worse by the week.
Coronavirus cases are climbing in nearly 40 U.S. states. On Sunday, Florida broke the U.S. record for most coronavirus cases in a day with 15,300 new cases ― that’s more cases than were detected in all of Europe the same day. In Arizona, confirmed and possible COVID-19 patients were using a record number of intensive care unit beds and ventilators on Sunday. A day later, California announced it would roll back reopenings, closing all bars, movie theaters and indoor dining as cases in the state continue to surge.
The five places in the world with the most new coronavirus cases per million residents last week included four Southern U.S. states and Bahrain, a Middle Eastern country with a high population of migrant workers living in tight quarters with little access to health care.
Meanwhile, U.S. state and local leaders are fighting to gain control over the spread of the virus, up against not just a pandemic but the politicization of safety measures like masks, pressure from the federal government to reopen schools and President Donald Trump working to cast doubt on a top voice in public health, Dr. Anthony Fauci. At a time when speedy decisions, cooperation and trust in the government are crucial, the U.S. is failing.
Florida, Texas, Arizona, Alabama and other states now seeing major increases in cases were relatively late to implement key safety measures such as stay-at-home orders or mask mandates.
States that are now doing comparatively well, like New York and New Jersey, implemented lockdowns at least two weeks earlier. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) ordered a lockdown on March 20, mandating that all nonessential businesses close to curb the spread of the virus. New Jersey, Connecticut and New Hampshire all followed suit within days.
New York, once the...