As virus grows, governors rely on misleading hospital data

Mike Pence, Deborah Birx
Posted at 12:08 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 15:08:44-04

WASHINGTON — Governors in states seeing huge spikes in the coronavirus often downplay the outbreak by citing statewide data to assure the public they have plenty of hospital capacity to survive the onslaught of cases. But experts say those numbers are often misleading in guiding decisions on whether to keep open a state during the pandemic.”

Several states in the South and West are behind a big surge in COVID-19 cases.

Statewide data can overlook places where hubs of the illness are filling hospitals. Health care experts say regional hospitalization statistics and things like 14-day and seven-day infection rates are better indicators.

Texas and Florida clamped down on bars again Friday in the biggest retreat yet amid a surge across the South and West.

The number of confirmed new coronavirus infections per day in the U.S. hit an all-time high of 40,000. Florida’s restrictions came after its daily confirmed coronavirus cases neared 9,000, almost double the previous record set just two days ago.

In Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott had pursued up to now one of the most aggressive reopening schedules of any state. There have been rising deaths and hospitalizations around the country. States including Arizona and Alabama have been hit hard.

Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force also touched on the issues facing Central California and the dangers to agricultural workers.

"The primary infections in California at the highest level are in the L.A. area, but because L.A. is a large metropolitan area, next slide, you really need this kind of more specific and local graphic to really show that it's also increasing in the Central Valley and this gives us the ability to focus resources among agricultural workers to improve testing and isolation to those who can become positive."