Second wave of coronavirus shutdowns might be worse than the first – but could be prevented

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

 It’s an outcome no one wants, but could become a “harsh reality”: a second wave of shutdowns.

Weeks after lifting stay-at-home orders, some states are seeing record numbers of hospitalizations from Covid-19 as thousands more Americans get infected every day.

“We’re going to have to face the harsh reality in some states that we may need to shut down again,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at George Washington University School of Medicine.

And the second wave of state shutdowns could be more damaging than the first.

“Because of quarantine fatigue, because of the economic effects of quarantine, another round of shutdowns might have even larger effects on businesses that may be on the edge of not being able to stay solvent,” said Dr. Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington.

The economic toll from one round of shutdowns has been staggering. More than 44 million people in the United States have filed for initial unemployment benefits since mid-March.

But the pandemic is far from over. More than 115,000 Americans have died from coronavirus, and hundreds more are dying from the virus every day.

“Covid’s not taking a summer vacation,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases expert and professor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

“It’s actually having new opportunities to spread.”

Track the virus in your state and across the US

Murray said the “biggest and most difficult choice” states could face in the coming months is managing a potential second shutdown.

And the consequences of another shutdown would be wide-ranging, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

“We can’t shut down the economy again,” Mnuchin told CNBC. “I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage. And not just economic damage, but … medical problems and everything else that get put on hold.”

But the federal government hasn’t been in control of shutdowns and reopenings. Those have been at the discretion of each state.

“If you run out of hospital beds, and you run out of ICU beds … (states would) have to shut down,” said Reiner.

It’s happened before

Second shutdowns aren’t just possible — they’ve already happened in some parts of the world during this pandemic.

Hong Kong and Singapore seemed to have coronavirus under control and started easing restrictions — only to have major resurgences that led to stricter rules.

Japan’s second-largest island, Hokkaido, also shut down to control the spread of coronavirus. “But they opened too quickly,” Reiner said, leading to a Covid-19 comeback.

“They shut down again. And that’s how they extinguished the virus.”

How Americans can prevent another round of shutdowns

While states try to revive the economy, the fate of this pandemic is largely up to individuals.

“People must observe the safety guidelines,” top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said.

“Social distancing must be observed. Face coverings in key places must be observed.”

Wearing a face mask is critical to slowing the spread of coronavirus because of how easy it is to infect others — even without any symptoms.

“We’ve got to take action now so that we avoid a shutdown in the future,” said Lina Hidalgo, the head of government in Harris County, Texas — the third most populous county in the United States.

Like many parts of the country, Harris County has seen surges in Covid-19 hospitalizations since Memorial Day weekend.

“That only continues to grow,” Hidalgo said Friday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said “the best thing to do is to avoid crowded areas.”

“But if you’re not going to do that,” he said, “please wear a mask.”

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News