The latest data is showing that there’s an increase in the number of cases with more hospitalizations since Memorial Day. In over a dozen states and Puerto Rico, they’re recording their highest averages of new cases since the pandemic started. In nine states, Texas, North Carolina, South Carolina, California, Oregon, Arkansas, Mississippi, Utah and Arizona, the number of hospitalizations has risen sharply. However, hospitalizations are hard to track because states vary in how they report the numbers. In some cases, states don’t report it at all.

Texas was one of the first states to reopen in early May. It has seen a 36% increase in cases since Memorial Day. Arizona reported a 49% rise in hospitalizations since the holiday, which is starting to put on a strain their hospital systems. While these seem like large increases, Arkansas has had an 88% surge in hospitalizations during the same time frame.

Many of these states are reporting their highest seven-day averages in new cases since the beginning of the pandemic. This dispels the notion that the number of cases is rising due to an increase in testing. Public health experts assert that many people participated in Memorial Day activities and were not following recommended safety measures. They state that this is most likely the main contributor to the recent spikes.

As states are grappling with the influx of cases and hospitalizations, public health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, agree that the pandemic is far from over. Many top health officials feel that the best hope of stopping, or at least slowing, the disease is a vaccine. The good news that many are being tested and there is hope that there will be one available some time next year. In the meantime, scientists are trying to understand how to combat the disease by learning what it does to the human body.

Dr. Fauci points out that COVID-19 has a very broad range of severity. For some individuals, they don’t have any symptoms and others become critically ill and die. It can cause significant lung damage, powerful immune responses and clotting disorders in anyone, even young, healthy adults. In addition, it has been shown to produce a severe inflammatory syndrome in some children. Due to the variability, it’s incredibly hard to pinpoint one specific treatment that will work for the majority of people.