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New Imperial College Research Estimates Coronavirus Still Spreading Uncontrolled in 24 US States


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New research from Imperial College London suggests the coronavirus "may still be spreading at epidemic rates" in 24 different states in America, reports the Washington Post: Some states have had little viral spread or "crushed the curve" to a great degree and have some wiggle room to reopen their economies without generating a new epidemic-level surge in cases. Others are nowhere near containing the virus. The model, which has not been peer reviewed, shows that in the majority of states, a second wave looms if people abandon efforts to mitigate the viral spread. "There's evidence that the U.S. is not under control, as an entire country," said Samir Bhatt, a senior lecturer in geostatistics at Imperial College.... The Imperial College researchers found in 24 states, the model shows a reproduction number over 1 [suggesting the virus is not waning]. Texas tops the list, followed by Arizona, Illinois, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, Iowa, Alabama, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, Missouri, Delaware, South Carolina, Massachusetts, North Carolina, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and Maryland.... This has become a geographically complex pandemic, one that will evolve, especially as people increase their movements in coming weeks. Laws and health regulations vary from state to state, county to county and city to city. There are communities where wearing facial coverings is culturally the norm, while in other places it is rejected on grounds of personal liberty or as refutation of the consensus view of the hazards posed by the virus... Experts in Tennessee are also concerned about people from other states beginning to flock to Nashville and Memphis on summer vacations. If a surge happens, said David Aronoff, director of the Vanderbilt University infectious disease division, "the tricky part will be putting the toothpaste back in the tube" by shutting down again. In addition to "behavioural precautions," the researchers recommend rapid testing and contact tracing. But If there's no change in the relationship between mobility and transmission, their report states bluntly that "We predict that deaths over the next two-month period will exceed current cumulative deaths by greater than two-fold... "We predict that increased mobility following relaxation of social distancing will lead to resurgence of transmission, keeping all else constant."

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