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Experts Call For More Testing As Covid-19 Rates Creep Up

By: Manny Otiko, IVN Columnist

Nationwide — In spite of what President Donald Trump says, the nation is not winning the war with the coronavirus. Both Texas and Florida opened their states and had to shut down again. Texas shut down because hospitals were reporting they were close to capacity.  Although Texas Gov. Greg Abbott claims there are plenty of available hospital beds, medical professionals tell a different story

“We appear to be nearing the tipping point,” said Dr. Marc Boom, head of the Houston Methodist hospital system, in an email, according to The Texas Tribune. “Should the number of new cases grow too rapidly, it will eventually challenge our ability to treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID 19 patients.”

Last week, Florida reported almost 9,000 covid-19 infections in one day. The state has responded by cracking down on bars and restaurants that were not following safety protocols. Florida is also reporting more infection cases in young people. An NPR story said some parts of the state admitted they reopened too fast.

During a recent press conference, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis urged establishments to follow guidelines. “If you go in and it’s just like mayhem, like Dance Party USA and it’s packed to the rafters,” said DeSantis, “that’s not just an innocent mistake.”

California is facing a similar dilemma. Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced the shutdown of several counties. He also recommended that both Riverside and San Bernardino counties shut down their bars and restaurants.

“CA Public Health has announced the mandatory closure of bars for counties who have been on the County Monitoring List for more than 14 days including Fresno, Imperial, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, San Joaquin and Tulare,” reported the state’s covid-19 website.

According to figures from the website, the numbers are still trending up. There are more than 210,000 cases of covid-19 infections. This has resulted in more than 5,900 deaths.

“While Californians have stepped up in a big way to flatten the curve and buy us time to prepare to fight the virus, at some point in the future we will need to modify our stay-at-home order,” said Newsom in a press statement. “As we contemplate reopening parts of our state, we must be guided by science and data, and we must understand that things will look different than before.”

The San Bernardino County Health Department reported more than 11,000 cases of covid-19 infections. An estimated 6,500 people have survived and 249 people have died from the disease. However, county data shows the numbers are going up.

Kevin Lyons is chief scientist and co-founder of FlashVote, a company that “helps government make better decisions with better data.” He has studied the data from the California Department of Health. Here are some of his findings.

    Deaths from covid-19 remain flat.

    The disease is more fatal to seniors.

San Bernadino’s county’s infection rate is close to the state average. The infection rate in Imperial County was six times higher than the state average, which was probably why the governor decided to shut it down.

Although Trump said he didn’t want to do a lot of testing because the infection numbers would go up, Lyons said we need more testing information. He added that we need to do more testing to see how the disease is affecting the general population.

“Testing leads to quick identification of cases, quick treatment for those people who are diagnosed positive, and immediate isolation to keep someone from unwittingly spreading the virus. Early testing also helps to identify anyone who came into contact with infected people so they too can be quickly treated,” according to a San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors press statement.

Larry Hagman, chairman of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, urged county residents to take the health precautions seriously.

“In relation to these gatherings we’ve seen since Memorial Day, too many were held with relaxed precautions,” said Hagman in a news release. “And as a whole, we have not been regularly practicing social distancing and wearing masks. And it’s hurting us.”

Last week, San Bernardino County witnessed its highest one-day increase and it’s also reporting increased infections among young people.

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