March 31, 201 – Are coronavirus variants behind the recent surge in COVID-19 cases in states such as Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and New York? Does the relaxation of measures to protect public health also play a role?
It depends who you ask.
Anthony Fauci, MD, warned that the recent spike in cases could stem from worrisome variants, although the scenario is likely more complicated.
Although the variants first identified in the UK and South Africa ‘play a role’ in the upsurge in new COVID-19 cases, Fauci also told CBS ” Face the nation on March 29, an increase in spring breaks and the relaxation of public health measures also contributed.
“Several states have done so,” he said, referring to the lifting of mask warrants. “I think it’s premature.”
The states most affected by recent outbreaks of COVID-19 are Florida, Michigan, New Jersey and New York. Illinois, Iowa, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Vermont are other states experiencing troubling trends, especially among young residents and visitors.
New Jersey State
“Cases are increasing, hospitalizations have increased from 200 to 300 over the past week to 10 days,” New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said at a March 29 press briefing. The state predicted and foresaw this increase, he added.
Fatigue and COVID-19 variants are both contributing to the increase, Murphy said. Additionally, “we don’t have the time we need yet. We just aren’t in the position that many southern states can lead a large part of their lives outside,” Murphy said.
There are several factors. The state’s population density, New York City just across the river, and “yes, variants play a role as well,” said Edward Lifshitz, MD, Department of Health medical director from New Jersey, during the briefing.
In response to a question about assigning vaccines to areas with higher rates of variants, Murphy said, “While we are diligent in telling you what we know about the variants, we assume they are in. state, everywhere. “
New York does the sequencing
Jonah Bruno, director of public information for the New York State Department of Health, did not respond directly when Medscape asked if variants or more relaxed public health protections were playing a role in the outbreak of State.
Instead, Bruno said New York is sequencing randomly selected COVID-19 virus samples statewide at a rate of about 90 per day to track variants of concern.
“It’s normal for a virus to mutate,” he said, and reiterated a list of protective measures against COVID-19 such as masks, social distancing and getting vaccinated when possible such as ” the best way for New Yorkers to protect themselves. “
Michigan Plus Direct
A spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (, Lynn Sutfin, said, “The presence of more infectious variants, such as B117 [U.K.] variant, threatens our progress in controlling the outbreak and the MDHHS will closely monitor the data. “
“Our goal is to re-engage while reducing public health risks, which is why we are moving slowly to maintain progress and momentum with thoughtful public health measures,” added Sutfin.
“We will continue to monitor the data to make decisions, including three key metrics: case rates, percent positivity, and hospitalizations,” she said. “It is essential not to give up now and to remind the Michiganders to continue to mask, wash their hands, distance themselves, get tested and get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available to them.”
Florida on the front lines?
Florida has gone the furthest in lifting pandemic protection measures, the New York Times reported on March 28, and is therefore considered a “national indicator of COVID.”
However, at the time of publication, Florida had yet to respond to a request for additional perspective on the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the state.
In the meantime, the big picture with a growing number of COVID-19 cases across the country looks worrisome, according to CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD. Americans to continue to take recommended precautions to curb the spread of the virus.
For updates on this evolving situation, the CDC is tracking concern variants B117, B1.351 (South Africa) and P1 (Brazil) on a map that displays the number of reported cases for each state.