Today, Florida set a new pandemic record for a single-day increase in COVID-19 cases: 15,300 new cases were identified in the state, far above 12,274 single-day increase in New York during what was then the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. Death counts are also beginning to rise, both Florida and elsewhere.
In Houston, Texas, refrigerated trailers are now appearing outside local hospitals as their morgues fill, even as the state continues to intentionally hide COVID-19 deaths.
The second wave of the pandemic is now here, and it is entirely self-inflicted. It is based mostly in the Republican-led states that shunned prior social distancing advice and boasted about reopening early. In the southernmost parts of the United States, pandemic infections are spiraling out of control.
All evidence suggests that the experience of Florida, Texas, Arizona, Georgia, and other states that scoffed at pandemic preparedness measures will meet or eclipse the disastrous pandemic outbreak in New York City earlier this year.
As expected, after initially being spread among younger populations COVID-19 infections are now soaring in Texas, Florida, Arizona and elsewhere as state protective equipment runs low and testing laboratories become overwhelmed. Almost 40% of recognized COVID-19 deaths in Texas are now of residents of long-term care facilities; Florida, too, is seeing record numbers of infections in state nursing homes.
Corpus Christi, Texas, had few restrictions and a low number of cases; it became a popular destination for residents of Houston and elsewhere looking to dodge outbreaks in their own cities. As expected, it is now a new virus hotspot, an explosion of new post-Memorial Day cases overwhelming city contact tracing efforts and, now, deaths.
Neither Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis or Texas Gov. Greg Abbott seem eager to take more than the minimal possible efforts to bring the pandemic under control. While Abbott was finally forced to issue a statewide mask order last week, it was done only after the state had already locked in overwhelmed ICUs and temporary-morgue scenarios. Abbott does not seem to be eager to acknowledge that even by his own identified metrics, he has already failed the state. DeSantis insists he has "no doubt" state schools can soon reopen, saying "I'm confident if you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools." The evidence in Arizona suggests there will be a steep price when it is tried.
Those states aren't the only ones experiencing a new pandemic surge. They are just the first. Cases are rising sharply in Missouri, and hospital admission rates are already increasing there. Georgia is now facing a new spike in pandemic deaths, even as Gov. Brian Kemp, still dismissive of mandated mask wearing, signed a measure to bar Georgia cities from issuing stronger pandemic restrictions than he himself had ordered. Southern California remains a hotspot, itself steadily building after Memorial Day came and went and residents began widely ignoring pandemic precautions. And in Wisconsin:
The second wave is here, and even as the rest of the world shows that the virus can, with competent governance, be kept under control until countermeasures are developed, the United States continues to act dismissively, incompetently, egregiously, and bullheadedly with anti-science declarations that either the virus will disappear without any needed action—Donald Trump's own insistence—or that stopping the pandemic would be too great an economic cost to bear, and so simply must not be done.
We are therefore likely to see both soaring deaths and widespread economic damage for the indefinite future. This wave was fully predicted, and warned of. This is the wave that governmental indifference built and unleashed itself.