As politicians and health experts debate the validity of lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19, one fact is harder to debate: Ten states on Friday reported their highest one-day case counts, according to Johns Hopkins: Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. Worryingly, hospitalizations are rising in some states, as well. Read on to see what restrictions may be necessary, and don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
What COVID Restrictions are Necessary?
"As infections have risen, so, too, have hospitalizations from the virus. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said hospitalizations in her state have increased 101% this month," reports CNN. "More hospitalizations will likely be followed by a rise in daily coronavirus deaths, says Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health."
Lockdowns aside, simple fundamental precautions must be taken to save lives, many warn. "Experts say Americans can help get the virus under control by heeding guidelines touted by officials for months," continues CNN: "avoiding crowded settings, keeping a distance, keeping small gatherings outdoors, and wearing a mask."
"This is a good moment for people to stop and ask themselves, 'What can I do to try to be sure that we limit the further infections that otherwise seem to be looming in front of us as cold weather is kicking in and people are indoors, and those curves are going upward, in the wrong direction?'" Collins said Friday, according to the network.
"Every New Mexican can and must do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19 by staying home, limiting their interactions with others, and wearing their masks," Grisham tweeted.
Kentucky has also stepped up enforcement of wearing masks and New York has enforced restrictions in certain "red zones." Nebraska has required hospitals to keep 10% of beds available for COVID-19 patients.
Will There be a Lockdown Due to COVID?
These fundamentals do not mean the entire country needs to lock down. "How bad would things have to get for you to advocate a national lockdown?" Dr. Jon LaPook asked Dr. Anthony Fauci on 60 Minutes. The Friday before the segment aired, COVID-19 cases hit a daily total of 70,000, a high not seen since the surge in July.
"They'd have to get really, really bad," Fauci said. "First of all, the country is fatigued with restrictions. So we want to use public health measures, not to get in the way of opening the economy, but to being a safe gateway to opening the economy. So instead of having an opposition: open up the economy [to] get jobs back, or shut down. No. Put 'shut down,' away and say, 'We're going to use public health measures to help us safely get to where we want to go."
It wasn't the first time Fauci said lockdowns shouldn't be necessary.
"I want the opportunity to say this again because unfortunately with the divisiveness that we have people take it out of context: I believe, and the overwhelming majority of my public health colleagues, my colleagues who are involved in infectious diseases, feel that we should use public health deaths and public health activities to help us to open the economy," he said on October 1st. "Don't interpret it as an obstacle to opening the economy," he continued. "Because if you do things the way we have prescribed, namely, a gateway of phase one, phase two, phase three, without jumping over these benchmarks that you have to look for, you can safely get people back to work, get the economy going. It's what you do in the extremes. You either think it's all shut down or, you know, caution to the wind and that we can't do that. That gets you in trouble."
So practice the fundamentals and don't get into trouble: wear your face mask, avoid crowds, avoid indoor spaces with people you don't shelter with, practice good hand hygiene and don't visit any of these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.