As southern and midwestern states begin to reopen, several people risk a second wave of coronavirus infections coming next month, a new model shows.
Cities like Dallas and Miami could see COVID-19 infections grow up to about 700 cases a day.
And Houston, the fourth most populous city in the United States, could see daily cases increase to more than 2,000 per day.
The model, from PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia, uses mobile phone data to track changes in mobility to predict the path of new infections over the next four weeks.
Hotspots were predicted in at least six US states: Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.
“As communities open again, we begin to discover evidence of resuscitation in cases in places that have overreacted a little,”
That’s because all 50 states at least partially reopened this week by relaxing corporate and social distance restrictions to varying degrees across the country.
A new model from PolicyLab predicts that as the southern and midwestern states loosen the restrictions, their daily new cases will increase over the next four weeks, making them the new US corona virus hotspots
The biggest spike was seen in Houston, where cases in Harris County increased to 2,247 by June 16, compared to the 205 daily cases made on May 14
In Miami, daily cases can be nailed to 746 by June 16, the model shows. The latest data from May 14 showed that daily infections were down to 274
The model showed that daily infections in Palm Beach could amount to 350 per day, a jump of 243 percent from the 102 new cases registered on May 14
For the model, the team looked at 389 counties across the country with active outbreaks, with 68 percent of the US population living.
They looked at daily case counts per county, obtained from The New York Times and USAFACTS, and used Unacast mobile data to track changes in mobility.
Thereafter, they estimated forecasts of how daily cases would increase or decrease over a four-week period.
Researchers found that cases with early plans for reopening were more likely to resume in the next four weeks.
For example, in Miami, daily cases could spike to 746 by June 16, the model shows. The latest data from May 14 showed that daily infections were down to 274.
And in Palm Beach, daily infections can reach 350 per day, a jump of 243 percent from the 102 new cases registered on May 14.
Florida, which has more than 49,000 infections and more than 2,100 deaths, has lifted restrictions by allowing retailers, restaurants, gyms and personal care services to reopen with limited capacity.
Sports venues can also be opened again without spectators, but bars, nightclubs and cinemas remain closed.
The model also showed dismal forecasts for Harris County, Texas, where the city of Houston is located.
The county registered 205 new cases on May 14, but researchers predict Infections can potentially increase to 2,247 by June 16.
In Dallas, the team estimates that cases could amount to 715 per day by June 14 after only 243 had returned on May 14
The model predicts that new daily infections in Montgomery, Alabama may increase to 201 by June 16 from approximately 48 per day registered on May 15.
At the same time, cases in Atlanta, Georgia may begin to increase and hit 59 on June 16. City infections, located in Fulton County, have been rising and falling sporadically since March. The state, which was the first to aggressively open again, has registered more than 41,000 infections and over 1,700 deaths
And in Dallas, the team estimates that cases could amount to 715 per day by June 14 after only 243 had returned on May 14.
Texas, which currently has more than 52,000 cases and more than 1,400 deaths, has allowed stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls to reopen with 25 percent capacity.
In some parts of the state, the plants can open with 50 percent capacity.
“We see in our models that some areas – especially in the south – that have moved faster to open again show a higher risk of re-looking,” the team wrote.
“For example, if people in Houston and Palm Beach, Florida, are not careful about masking in tight spaces indoors and with hygiene and disinfection, local authorities may need to intervene again if they lose control of the epidemic.”
In Alabama, which has more than 13,000 infections and more than 530 deaths, gyms and personal care services have been able to reopen. Restaurants can also reopen with limited seating.
The model predicts that new daily infections in Montgomery may increase to 201 by June 16.
Currently, daily cases have slowly increased in the city with the bill at 48 as of May 15.
In Tulsa, Oklahoma, nails are not expected to fall, but at least double from about 10 per day to 20 per day.
Meanwhile, falls in Atlanta, Georgia, may begin to increase and hit 59 on June 16.
City infections, located in Fulton County, have been rising and falling sporadically since March.
The state, which was the first to aggressively open again, has registered more than 41,000 infections and over 1,700 deaths.
Gyms, personal care and restaurants have been allowed to open again in the state.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp has been accused of caring more about saving businesses than saving lives, a charge he dismissed as “ridiculous.”
The Midwest also risks resurgence. The Washington Post saw the events in Crawford, Iowa and Colfax, Nebraska.
The newspaper reports that Crawford County saw the fall by 750 percent and in Colfax County by 1,390 percent.
“Given these cautious measures by our governments, we have already seen that the predicted resurgence in most places is starting to reopen – rather, everyday cases are either plateau or fall,” the CHOP researchers said.
“But the image our models paint for Texas and Florida provides plenty of evidence for others who would choose to move too quickly. We see these problems even as we adjust for additional testing capabilities that may have inflated our forecasts.”