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Why COVID-19 Will Make A Comeback In NYC This Fall – And Lockdowns Won’t Help

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

As we noted earlier, Bloomberg on Friday published a story decrying the risks facing NYC as the northern hemisphere moves toward the fall. Three weeks ago, Melbourne entered lockdown that was supposed to last for 6 weeks. However, new infections have only continued to climb, and it’s currently unclear whether officials will abandon the lockdown, or extend it.

The problem? Some epidemiologists suspect that, since Australia is now in the heart of its winter season, most people are spending the bulk of their days indoors, relying on heat and ventilation systems in multifamily buildings that can, at least in theory, carry the ‘airborne’ virus from apartment to apartment, infecting unsuspecting neighbors without them even needing to leave their homes.

That’s all speculation at this point, however (though examples of the virus spreading rapidly within apartment blocks abound in Hong Kong and mainland China).

But the fact remains: Since June, the outbreak in Melbourne – suspected to have begun with failures in the hotel quarantine of travelers arriving from overseas – has exploded. Thursday and Friday saw the worst increases yet: 723 and 627 respectively across the state of Victoria, the second-largest state in Australia, where Melbourne serves as the capital.

These numbers have left Australian health officials stunned: Their models projected that the lockdowns should have crushed the outbreak by now. But even with strict social distancing measures in place, the virus has continued to spread.

The American press hasn’t done much reporting on the situation in Australia. It’s clear why: Not only is the country on the other side of the world, but it’s also raising uncomfortable questions about the efficacy of lockdowns, particularly as the world heads into the heart of winter/summer (depending on whether one is in the northern or southern hemisphere).

So, why isn’t Melbourne’s lockdown working? The BBC has some ideas.

Throughout the state of Victoria, most outbreaks have been traced back to aged care homes, meat factories, schools and public housing estates.

But as Bloomberg reported on Friday, the falling temperatures and growing reliance on air conditioning suggest that NYC could soon see a related comeback – even a Gov Cuomo pledges to investigate “outdoor” gatherings like a drive-thru concert in the Hamptons, while completely ignoring anti-police brutality protests.

Melbourne, Australia, with 5 million people, offers a case in point. With the Fahrenheit dropping into the 50s, Melbourne has seen an upswing in cases, a foreboding indicator of how tough it may be for cities like New York to control infections as the mercury drops. With fall and winter approaching, it’s “inevitable” Covid-19 cases will tick up, said Ashish Jha, director of Harvard University’s Global Health Institute.

“I am worried about complacency,” Jha said in an interview. “New York went through such a difficult few months, and I am worried that people are tired. A lot of people are looking at New York over the next six months and saying: ‘Could we possibly see a spike?’”

New York’s success is seen as somewhat of a beacon for the rest of the country. If the city can keep its rate low as it reopens through the fall and winter, then epidemiologists say its efforts can serve as a model for other big cities nationwide.

NYC entered Phase 4 of its reopening on July 20. Stores are now open, though capacity is limited, and New Yorkers can enjoy outdoor dining at restaurants, but there’s no clear timeline for the return of indoor dining. The wearing of masks, social distancing and aggressive hygiene practices are still being pushed as mandatory by local officials.

New York reported just 59 new cases citywide on Tuesday. But it hasn’t eased up yet. On Thursday, Gov Cuomo said the state is making $30 million available to counties to increase contact tracing as well as testing for the coming flu season, which generally hits in the fall and winter. Cuomo has warned that the flu could complicate the COVID-19 response by, among many reasons, upping the strain on laboratories.

If NYC can suppress a rebound of new cases in the fall, it could stand as a model for the rest of the country. If it fails, then maybe our medical experts will need to rethink their approach.


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