As at least 19 US states have witnessed a surge in new COVID-19 cases, leading to a pause in the reopening of their economies.
The Washington State Department of Health on Saturday released the latest situation report, which showed COVID-19 transmission continued to increase in eastern Washington by the end of May, with a possible uptick in western Washington as well.
Expressing concerns of a further spread of the virus, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said: “The report estimates cases and deaths will soon increase substantially if COVID-19 continues to spread at current levels.
“Washingtonians have done the hard work to flatten the curve on COVID-19… But today”s report shows us there is still reason for strong concern in parts of our state.”
In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown placed a seven-day hold on easing social restrictions as an increasing number of new COVID-19 cases emerged.
In Baltimore, Maryland, Mayor Bernard Young also announced decisions to pause the phase two of planned reopening.
“Let me be crystal clear with everyone: I, more than almost anyone, would love to see that Baltimore city is open and safe, but that simply is not what the data is telling us at this time,” Young said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Jay Butler, who oversees COVID-19 response work at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that the pandemic is different from other crisis because “it is a disaster that spreads”.
“It”s not like there”s an entire continental seismic shift and everyone feels the shaking all at once,” Butler said.
With 2,074,082 cases and 115,402 deaths, the US continues with the world”s highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, according to the Johns Hopkins University.