Here’s Why the Covid-19 Cases Keep Rising

Coronavirus Disease 2019 Rotator Graphic for (U.S. Air Force Graphic by Rosario “Charo” Gutierrez)

Claire Qiu, Staff Writer

Covid-19 cases are rising. At the time of this writing, the United States currently has more than 4.1 million confirmed cases, and 145,982 deaths. California has 395,000 confirmed cases, and, according to an article in the LA Times, has surpassed New York in terms of virus case count and is now leading the country. Orange County is averaging 550 new cases per day. Newport Beach alone has the third largest case count in the county, with 717 total cases as of July 22nd. More and more, young people in the 18-39 age group, previously thought to be less prone to getting the virus, are starting to get sick, and doctors have yet to find a tried-and-true treatment for those infected, let alone a vaccine.

Earlier this year, scientists predicted that the eventual effects of herd immunity, coupled with the rise in temperature, meant that the number of coronavirus cases would plausibly decrease in the summer. Hence, the U.S. began to reopen its economy after numbers seemed to be stabilizing in mid May. However, many states are now shutting down again, after the recent spike in cases starting in mid June.

So why hasn’t summer slowed the virus down?

Part of the reason is low herd immunity. According to an article by WCNC, doctors say that warm weather will only be effective in slowing a virus if the majority of the population is already immune. Furthermore, sunlight can only kill germs on surfaces. But the virus spreads mostly through water droplets in the air, not by contact with infected surfaces. Hence, public health officials say that the best preventive measures are masking and social distancing.

The third and largest reason behind the unexpected summer coronavirus spike is human behavior. The promise of a quickly reopening economy and warm summer weather meant that businesses began to open, and people began to venture out to work, restaurants, malls, bars, parks, and the beach, without taking proper precautions. Thus, around mid-June, the virus case count, previously thought to be stabilizing, shot up, and left many government officials with no choice but to shut parts of their states back down.

However, the good news is that Covid-19 can be controlled with proper human behavior. Germany has been praised for its effective response to the pandemic, as have other countries including South Korea and Japan.