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Why we may still be in the first wave of coronavirus

Cleaning supplies and waste bins line the hallways of the acute care COVID unit at Harborview Medical Center on May 7, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)

Dr. Fauci recently testified in Congress and noted a disturbing surge of coronavirus cases, which may be evidence that we haven’t yet escaped the first wave. Columbia University virologist Dr. Angela Rasmussen joined Gee and Ursula to discuss.

Where are we in terms of fighting this virus?

“In our community, here in Western Washington, we’re doing pretty well. … We’re at a really scary place now in some very big states — Arizona, Texas, Florida — and we could be looking at a lot more people dying over the next month or two,” Rasmussen said.

As Dr. Fauci stated to Congress, with all the talk about a second wave, we may not actually be done with the first wave.

What is law enforcement’s role under Gov. Inslee’s mask mandate?

“For it to be a second wave, we would have had to see cases decline back to a really low level or baseline,” Rasmussen explained. “We haven’t seen that. In many places, the case numbers have really plateaued but they haven’t started to go down, and places reopened while they were plateaued, but not decreased. And so rather than going down, they’re going back up.”

“So this is really just a continuation of the first wave,” she added.

Have the recent protests lead to a surge in cases? It’s possible, but Rasmussen says it’s hard to track so we may not find out in the near future.

“To my knowledge, there has been no epidemiological evidence that has linked protests or any individual gatherings with increases in cases, and part of the issue there is that it’s really hard to do,” she said. “In many cases, the Memorial Day gatherings were associated with broader reopening activities and so it makes it really difficult to separate any individual activity and attribute that to the increase in case numbers.”

Listen to the Gee and Ursula Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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