Sunbelt states suffer a big rise in cases and deaths amid the growing politicisation of issues such as wearing masks
When the LA Surge Hospital closed its doors on June 1 — just nine weeks after it was opened as an emergency facility to treat coronavirus patients — it was a bittersweet moment for Chad Ricks, an associate chief nursing officer who managed the site.
Although he had to say goodbye to his colleagues, the hospital’s closure was a sign that Los Angeles — and the country at large — might be returning to something like normal. “Cases were starting to stabilise and the county was better able to manage its intensive care capacity,” says Mr Ricks, who is currently recovering from the virus after contracting it while working at another facility.
However, he feared California was reopening its economy too quickly and that officials had shut the facility prematurely. “Many of us thought we might need to keep it open a little longer, but no one asked our opinion,” adds Mr Ricks. He was right to be worried. Coronavirus is now spreading rampantly in Los Angeles and throughout California, as well as in other sunbelt states including Texas, Florida and Arizona. On Thursday, the US reported 71,000 new cases of the virus, setting another daily record, and 977 additional deaths.