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Covid-19 on Rise in Several States as Nation Nears 2.1 Million Total Diagnosed Infections

N.Y. gov. threatens crackdown, and state budgets and Medicaid could get hard hit as tens of millions have lost jobs and health insurance.
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As people were seen over the weekend in U.S. cities eating outside at restaurants and shopping in stores that were for months deemed not essential early in the coronavirus lockdowns, the number of those known to have been infected jumped to nearly 2,093,000 and the global outbreak's reach is fast approaching 8 million.

The death toll in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins disease-tracking map, is also rising -- to well over 115,000. And in the coming weeks, health officials say Americans can expect that number to increase to up to 140,000.

A large number of states, including Texas and Florida, are also seeing an uptick in infections in recent days.

Texas reported around 86,000 total cases and estimated around 27,000 total "active cases" on Sunday, while Florida officially has nearly 76,000 total cases, according to the state's health department.

"Lifting social distancing measures prematurely, while cases continue to increase or remain at high levels, could result in a resurgence of new cases," said a Johns Hopkins University update mapping outbreaks by state on Sunday.

While several Western and Southern states saw new cases, New York also saw concerns of businesses and customers getting too relaxed, after the state was finally getting a rest following an initially huge spread that killed tens of thousands of residents.

"Utah, Oregon had to reverse their reopening plan," stated New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday. "Before I reverse a statewide position, I'll tell you what I'm going to do: I'm going to reverse it in those areas that are not in compliance with the rules."

Cuomo said the state saw 25,000 violations, with Manhattan and the Hamptons as the main culprits. 

"They are rampant and there's not enough enforcement. I am not going to allow situations to exist that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the spread of the virus."

Other states were also seeing problems containing the spread of Covid-19.

"We have 22 states where we have cases increasing, eight where it's level and 21 states where it's decreasing. And I think that what we're really talking about here now is, what does reopening do, what does the protests do and we just have to be humble and say we -- we're not -- we're in an unsure moment right now what's happening in this country," Dr. Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told "Fox News Sunday," according to a transcript. 

Dr. Osterholm also said on Sunday that while about 5% of the U.S. population has been infected, the virus won't slow down until 60% to 70% of people have gotten it.

"So one way or another, we're going to see a lot of additional cases out there," Dr. Osterholm told Fox's Chris Wallace.

Dr. Osterholm added that scientists still know little about why some areas are getting hit while others are not, comparing the spread to the unpredictability of the flu and saying it's unlikely an increase in testing explains the rise in cases.

"Do we think reopening is going to increase cases? It sure should, but we have examples of states where it hasn't. So I think this is where, again, we have to be very humble and say, this is a very serious challenge, but we don't really know what is actually making the virus move like it is right now in some states and not in others."

Days earlier, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's director, Dr. Robert Redfield, told reporters that the center is still learning "a great deal" about the new virus and its ability to spread among people easily.

"While we are making progress, we have a lot of work ahead as we reopen America," said Redfield. 

Still, as the disease has caused shutdowns and closures, the financial and psychological toll on Americans has been severe. 

More than 40 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs over the past few months, and many industries such as brick-and-mortar retail, hotels, air travel and restaurants have been pummelled hard.

"Without jobs and with lower incomes, millions will lose their health insurance, which will lead to a surge of new enrollees in Medicaid," wrote researchers Heidi L. Allen and Dr. Benjamin D. Sommers in a recent opinion paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

This will put great stress on Medicaid and state budgets, said the researchers. 

The 37 states that implemented the Affordable Care Act Medicaid expansions will see the most enrollments, said the researchers, but in "nonexpansion states millions will remain ineligible."

Tax revenues that support Medicaid and these health care safety net programs will drop while demand will hike, said the researchers. 

The jump in demand for health insurance into 2021 "may put some states in financial jeopardy, particularly since state tax revenues are likely to decline," said the authors. "The next 12 months will be a time of reckoning for Medicaid. The program is a critical tool in the economic and public health response to Covid-19."