Greater than half of American states are reporting significant declines in coronavirus cases, however in Oregon, a new wave of the virus has pushed a 3rd of the state’s counties to tighten lockdown restrictions.
Oregon is reporting about 816 new instances a day, a roughly 31 % improve from two weeks in the past, in accordance with a New York Times database. Hospitalizations have additionally risen by about 42 % in the identical interval. Deaths from the virus, which are likely to lag behind instances for a number of weeks, stay comparatively low.
“Right here is the truth Oregon is going through proper now: instances are widespread, pushed by new, extra contagious variants,” the state’s governor, Kate Brown, stated at a news conference on Friday. “Oregon leads the nation for our price of improve in instances during the last two weeks.”
A complete of 15 counties, together with some within the Portland metro space, moved again into the fourth and most excessive degree of restrictions on Friday, after assembly the state’s threshold. In these counties, indoor eating is now prohibited and companies equivalent to gyms and film theaters should considerably cut back their capability.
The brand new limits are prone to immediate a political backlash. Some states which have seen current surges, like in Michigan the place instances have leveled off however whole numbers nonetheless stay excessive, have chosen to not tighten restrictions once more and as an alternative have requested residents to take higher precautions in an effort to halt the unfold of the virus.
Ms. Brown stated she was optimistic that the state would be capable to get forward of the variants over the subsequent two to a few weeks, estimating that Oregon might carry statewide restrictions and return to a point of normalcy by the tip of June.
The governor urged Oregonians to get vaccinated, calling it the important thing to totally reopening the state’s financial system.
Public well being consultants have advised a mix of things might be driving the surge, together with extra contagious variants, elevated journey throughout spring break and the loosening of state pointers earlier than vaccination charges had sufficiently risen. As of Saturday, almost 30 % of the state’s inhabitants was totally vaccinated and 44 % had acquired not less than one dose, in accordance with a New York Times vaccine tracker.
“We didn’t get down far sufficient,” Ken Stedman, a biology professor at Portland State College, told local news outlet KATU, referring to case numbers, “and now we appear to be going again up once more.”