The dreaded second coronavirus wave may be arriving at the worst possible time: By Andy Meek @aemeek
The Upper Midwest and Plains states in the US — including Wisconsin, South Dakota, and North Dakota — are seeing such a frightening spike in new COVID-19 cases that those three states in particular now top every state in the US in terms of new coronavirus cases per capita. Over the weekend, it was reported that only 16 ICU beds and less than 200 regular inpatient beds were left in all of North Dakota, which doesn’t have a statewide face mask mandate, and one Wisconsin nurse recounted heartbreaking stories of her encounters with patients — including one who told her “It’s OK, you guys took good care of me, but it’s OK to let me go.”
Along these same lines, Dr. Megan Ranney — an emergency medicine physician with Brown University in Rhode Island — lamented in a CNN interview that because of an uptick in “severe” COVID-19 cases, there’s a fear that a long-dreaded coronavirus second wave may finally be at hand.
“We are all seeing increasing numbers of COVID-19 patients who are coming into our ERs, who are getting really sick, requiring hospitalization and even intensive care,” Ranney said. “We are all deeply afraid that this is the beginning of that dreaded second wave.”
Of course, it’s always worth offering the reminder that this flare-up of the virus can strike anywhere. Which explains why even localities like New York City — once the epicenter of the pandemic in the US, got itself under control, but is preparing for a possible resurgence — are cracking down again. Indeed, some $150,000 in fines were issued over the weekend in New York City, where authorities began a new crackdown on people and places seen as not adhering to coronavirus protocols.
As to the ER doctors’ fears that a second wave of coronavirus infections may be unfolding right now, if that’s true then it certainly comes at arguably the worst possible time.
Health experts like White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and others have long warned that the US is going to be in for a difficult fall and winter, with the colder months necessitating so much of the activity people have been doing outside — appropriately so, since the virus is thought to have a harder time spreading outdoors — will have to be brought inside. Moreover, that will coincide with the onset of the normal flu season, potentially setting up a so-called “twindemic,” with two respiratory viruses that present similar symptoms adding new strain to an already overburdened health care system.