An internal report obtained by NBC News shows that new cases are spiking in parts of the country.
President Trump claimed Monday that “all throughout the country, the numbers [of coronavirus cases] are coming down rapidly.” His claim, however, contradicts an internal report compiled by his own task force, which showed massive spikes in infections across the middle of the country.
New cases increased between 100 and 1,000 percent within a week in parts of Tennessee, Iowa, Kentucky, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Georgia. The White House’s pandemic task force delivered the report, which was obtained by NBC News, to the president last week.
The report tracked rates of infection and found that 10 areas saw surges of 72.4 percent or greater within the last week in cities such as Nashville, Tennessee; Des Moines, Iowa; and Amarillo, Texas. Another 10 marked as “Places to Watch” saw new cases increasing by 64 to 186 percent, and included the metropolitan regions of Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska; Minneapolis; Montgomery, Alabama; Columbus, Ohio; and Phoenix. Data from Charlotte, North Carolina and Kansas City, Missouri showed increases of over 200 percent from the previous week.
Hardest hit was Central City, Kentucky, which had a 650 percent increase. It’s the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The Republican said Monday that he “felt no urgency” to see another congressional coronavirus response bill, but has turned his attention to ensuring businesses that reopen are protected from lawsuits.
Recent weeks have shown a downward trend in the number of daily new cases, with 18,000 new infections recorded on May 11, down from a height of nearly 39,000 on April 24. Trump has used the positive data in his campaign to push states to reopen their economies, and many of the new hot spots are in states that are following the president’s advice to relax stay-at-home restrictions. Alabama, Kentucky, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, and Tennessee currently have no stay-home orders in effect.
More than 80,000 people in the U.S. have died due to coronavirus complications, and about 1.3 million people have been infected, making the nation the home of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreak.
On Tuesday, top infectious disease expert and coronavirus task force member Anthony Fauci told the Senate that “of course” there will be more American deaths if the United States does not respond to the crisis with better testing, contact tracing, and maintaining social distancing guidelines.
“If we do not respond in an adequate way when the fall comes, given that it is without a doubt that there will be infections in the community, that we run the risk of having a resurgence,” Fauci said. “I would hope by that point in time in the fall we have more than enough to respond adequately. But if we don’t, there will be problems.”