By: Tauren Dyson
Positive coronavirus tests soar in the United States, as the rate in 21 states over a seven-day period climbs over 5%, according to John Hopkins University.
The World Health Organization warned governments in May to delay reopening until the positivity rate fell to 5% or lower over 14 days prior to reopening.
“As we learned, more the 5% figure was felt to be a better goal,” Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director at the American Public Health Association told The Washington Examiner. “Since we are so far behind testing in the U.S., some areas are still using 10% as their goal. We do need to go to 5% nationally once we broadly accomplish the 10% goal.”
Currently, nine states have a seven-day average over 10%, including Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah.
While Texas was beginning to reopen in early May, Gov. Greg Abbott cautioned that a 10% positivity rate would be a “warning flag.”
On Thursday, Texas had a positivity rate of 12.7%. By Friday, Abbott began to reverse course, forcing restaurants to lower their capacity from 75% to 50% and limiting bars to delivery and takeout service.
He also shut down river rafting companies and empowered local officials to stop public gatherings of more than 100 people.
As Florida’s positivity rate exceeded 14%, Gov. Ron DeSantis stopped bars from allowing customers to consume alcohol on the premises.
Oregon has also paused its reopening on June 11, while the state’s rate was only at 3.4%. Today, the rate is at 4.4%.
“There are numerous surges occurring across the country that are directly related to relaxation of social distancing guidelines and to reopening that occurred too quickly and that did not follow public health guidance,” Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University said.
“By now, we know what it takes to contain COVID-19; we need to keep following public health experts,” Wen said. “[The positivity rate] is only one of multiple criteria needed to evaluate the safety and timing of reopening.” (Newsmax.com)