June 19, 2020

Amid accelerating growth in newly reported coronavirus cases in 20 states, some officials have warned that stay-at-home orders and nonessential business closures might again be needed to slow the virus' spread—but is another round of widespread lockdowns in America viable?

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US new coronavirus cases surpass 2.2M, deaths top 118K

U.S. officials as of Friday morning reported 2,201,300 cases of the new coronavirus—up from 2,174,500 cases as of Thursday morning.

Data from the New York Times shows that at least 20 states—Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming—saw their growth rates of newly reported cases of the novel coronavirus rise over the past 14 days.

Meanwhile, the data shows that the growth rates of newly reported cases over the past two weeks remained nearly constant in Guam and 10 states—Alaska, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington.

In addition, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and 20 states—Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin—saw their growth rates of newly confirmed cases decrease over the past 14 days.

As of Friday morning, officials also had reported a total of 118,458 U.S. deaths linked to the new coronavirus—up from 117,743 deaths reported as of Thursday morning.

Will America see another round of lockdowns to tamp down the virus' spread?

Amid the accelerating growth in newly reported coronavirus cases in some regions of the country, some state and local officials have said they're considering whether to reimpose coronavirus-related business closures and other restrictions intended to contain the virus. However, some public health experts have cast doubt on whether another round of widespread lockdowns in America would be viable or effective.

According to Vox, some experts have said it may be difficult for state and local officials to reimplement nonessential business closures and stay-at-home orders because of political pressure they've faced to reopen their economies and ease social distancing measures, as those restrictions led to high rates of unemployment and social strain.

And some experts note that, even if officials reinstitute coronavirus-related restrictions, there's a possibility some Americans will be less likely to abide by the orders a second time around, Vox reports. According to Vox, that's partly because people won't see the impact of such restrictions right away, as it would take a few weeks until rates of new coronavirus infections and related deaths begin to fall because of the measures.

In addition, some experts say another round of widespread lockdowns isn't necessary, because there are other approaches state and local officials can use to contain the new coronavirus, including robust testing and contact tracing efforts and ensuring that people who have contracted or been exposed to the virus self-isolate.

On Thursday, Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during an interview with Agence France-Presse said the United States would not need another widespread lockdown to slow the new coronavirus' spread. Instead, Fauci said, public health officials will have to localize their approaches to curb transmission of the virus and handle regional outbreaks.

"I don't think we're going to be talking about going back to lockdown," he said. "I think we're going to be talking about trying to better control those areas of the country that seem to be having a surge of cases"  (Irfan, Vox, 6/16; Budryk, The Hill, 6/18; Morton, Washington Times, 6/18; New York Times, 6/19).

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