Texas Reopening Plan Derailed by COVID-19 Spike

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Most of the country spent the past few weeks tentatively reopening after months of COVID-19 lockdowns. Many states are now realizing that their surging case numbers make this a dubious proposition. The US numbers of the disease remain stubbornly high on the national level. Individual states are seeing huge bumps in their numbers.

COVID 19 causing virus, artists' rendition
NEXU Science Communications

Among these states is Texas, one of the most populous states in the US. The Lone Star State has postponed its reopening plan in response to the surging case numbers. Counties that are home to some of the state’s biggest cities have been ordered to postpone elective procedures for now. This has been done ahead of time to open room in hospital beds.

The state expects the surge in cases to turn deadly soon, and will need many hospital beds to address the issue.

Why Is COVID Sticking Around in the US?

Many countries around the world are in the last stages of reopening from their COVID-19 lockdowns. Some, like New Zealand, have eliminated the virus altogether. In the US, however, the disease remains a serious threat. Even as the number of critical cases continues to fall, active case numbers are soaring. Why is the US different from some other nations?

Many pundits have pointed to the US’s unique culture. In the US, rugged individualism is often valued over collective action. This has led to vocal contingents of the country opposing any efforts meant to curtail the virus. Lockdowns were met with protests. Laws requiring masks in public places are defied openly.

Some Americans simply will not be told how to conduct their daily lives, even if it’s in the name of slowing the spread of a deadly disease.

The Future Could Be Grim

Despite widespread efforts to enforce social distancing, the US has been unable to properly respond to the virus. This has already led to some 120,000 American deaths due to the novel coronavirus. More are likely on the way as the country grapples with how to slow the spread of the virus. With some people refusing to use masks or practice social distancing, the virus is spreading through some communities unchecked.

Some were hoping that summer would bring some headache relief after months of draining lockdowns. Now, as the summer bears on, it seems that the future could be grim. Another round of lockdowns is possible in some states. It could be months, or even years, before the US sees the end of this virus. A vaccine or cure could be required to end the pandemic.

Epidemiologists’ worst fears for the US could come true. Barring a miracle vaccine or treatment, COVID-19 could become endemic to the US. In a worst-case scenario, COVID could become another part of the daily reality of living in America.