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US Still Enduring First Wave of COVID-19 Despite Plateauing Cases, Experts Warn

© REUTERS / Callaghan O'Hare Overheated, a healthcare worker takes a break as people wait in their vehicles in long lines for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing in Houston, Texas, US, July 7, 2020
Overheated, a healthcare worker takes a break as people wait in their vehicles in long lines for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing in Houston, Texas, US, July 7, 2020 - Sputnik International
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Despite the fact that new COVID-19 infections in some US states are plateauing, the country still has a long way to go to contain the pandemic, according to experts.

Documented cases of COVID-19 have been slowly plateauing in the last two weeks in Arizona, Florida and Texas, according to data from the states’ public health departments. 

However, despite leveling off in some states, case numbers are still increasing in several others. According to an analysis by The Hill, 21 US states reported more cases last week than the week prior, and 24 states reported more than 5,000 cases last week.

“We’re still in the first wave, and we’re the highest that we’ve been since the beginning. I don’t think we are going down the back side yet,” Scott Lindquist, Washington state’s chief epidemiologist for communicable diseases, told The Hill. “There are some indications that we have reached a peak.” 

The outlet’s analysis shows that over the last three days, there have been around 50,000 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in the US every 24 hours.

In addition, the number of tests being conducted in the US on a daily basis appears to be on the decline. On July 24, almost 1 million people were tested; however, on Thursday, only 731,700 new tests were completed, according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project. 

In the absence of a national testing strategy, the governors of Virginia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio and Maryland have recently joined forces with the Rockefeller Foundation to expand the use of antigen tests in a bid to halt the spread of the pandemic. Antigen tests, which detect fragments of proteins found on or within the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19, can produce results in just a matter of minutes.

The latest data by Worldometer shows that more than 5 million cases of the virus have been confirmed in the US, and more than 162,000 people have died as a result.

Estimates by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington show that the COVID-19 death toll in the US could rise as high as 295,011 by December 1.
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