Doc says reopening not to blame for US virus surge; proximity to US-Mexico border, wave of protests key

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The current spike in coronavirus cases in the United States is not the result of state re-opening policies, but seems to be connected to the southern U.S. border near Mexico and the recent sweep of protests.

While local Democrat leaders contended that recent protesting was too sensitive to be subject to coronavirus safety guidelines, a senior fellow at The Hoover Institution told Fox News they were the perfect “setup” to spread more cases. He also noted that proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border has been another key factor in the surge of COVID-19 cases in the Southwest.

(Source: Fox News)

Dr. Scott Atlas told anchor Jon Scott Saturday during an appearance on “Fox Report Weekend” that, although the rising number of COVID-19 cases needs to be monitored, the 20 percent spike of positive cases in more than a dozen states is not necessarily connected to a national trend.

“The unwritten sort of story here is also why are all these cases exploding, particularly in the border counties?” he said after focusing on hospital crowding as a factor.

“When you look in the southern counties of California, Arizona and the bordering counties of Texas — with the Mexico border — these are where most of these cases are really exploding,” Atlas said.

“And then you look at the Mexico map and in Mexico, that’s where their cases are. Their cases are in the northern border zone states. And it turns out the timeline here correlates much more to the Mexico timeline of increasing cases than anything else,” he explained.

Atlas pointed out how the reopening policies in states like Texas, Florida and Arizona did not really lead to the spike in cases those areas have seen.

“When you really look closely at these so-called re-opening policies, whether it’s in Georgia or Florida or Texas, you know, we didn’t really see a big correlation of cases and hospitalizations from that,” the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center said.

“That’s really not true. That’s sort of some sloppy thinking, I think, again. We really … have to look closely at why these things are happening,” he told the Fox News anchor.

“By the way. California didn’t really reopen. Yet they have cases coming up. Why is that? I mean, that’s because these cases don’t really correlate to that,” Atlas continued.

“They correlate mainly to two things — the big thousands and thousands of people with protesting, sharing megaphones, screaming. That’s a setup to spread cases,” he said. “And also when you look at the analysis of the border counties, there’s a tremendous amount of cases coming over the border and exchanging with families in the northern Mexico states.”

Lawmakers in many of the states where protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death in May were allowed to run unabated for days have argued that the thousands of demonstrators marching, and in some cases looting and clashing with police, had little to no bearing on coronavirus cases, though more people in their 20s and 30s have been getting the virus.

Atlas had explained that the focus in the rise in coronavirus cases across the U.S., which has seen nearly 3 million positive cases in the duration of the pandemic, should not necessarily be on how many cases there are but on who is actually being infected.

“Most of the cases are in healthier younger people and that age has dramatically decreased since a couple months back, and these are people that generally can deal with this and recover totally fine,” he said, adding that the length of stays in the hospitals and the mortality rates for hospitalizations has been coming down.

“We are seeing more hospitalizations in some states. I think this is a cause for concern,” he said, going on to show how overcrowding in hospitals in states like Texas, Arizona and Florida are due to other factors than just a rising number of coronavirus patients, as the facilities don’t generally distinguish between patients who test positive and those who are hospitalized specifically for complications from the virus.

Texas broke its daily coronavirus record Saturday with more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases reported. Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned that “the next step would have to be a lockdown” if the spread of COVID-19 doesn’t diminish in that state. In Harris County, where Houston is located, people ages 20–39 make up 43% of the 40,000 cases reported this week.

In Florida, there were 95 new deaths and over 10,000 new cases reported Saturday, as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has pointed to increased testing for the spike in numbers. Those in their mid- to late-30s have made up the average age for those recently confirmed with COVID-19 in the state.


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