Pence postpones campaign stops in Florida, Arizona, shifts focus to coronavirus spike

Vice President Mike Pence has been recalled to lead efforts undertaken by the White House coronavirus task force, as cases in multiple states have spiked in recent days, according to the Washington Examiner.

Pence is traveling into several virus hot spots to meet with health officials, including those in Florida, Arizona, and Texas, but campaign events in Florida and Arizona have been postponed for the time being because of a rise in cases there, Politico noted.

The Florida and Arizona campaign events were put on hold “out of an abundance of caution,” according to a campaign official, the Examiner reported.

A Sunday campaign event at First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas was still held despite growing infection numbers in Texas, mainly in the Houston area, as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram noted. Pence then met with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) to discuss the situation on the ground.

Rising cases cause concern

The country saw a record number of coronavirus cases nationwide on Friday, with 47,300 new infections reported, but so far death rates from the virus are still falling, with a seven-day rolling average of roughly 600, the Austin American-Statesman reported. Near the peak of U.S. coronavirus deaths in mid-April, there were more than 2,200 deaths a day.

Florida had a record 9,535 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, but hospitalizations were not reported to be rising. The percentage positive COVID-19 tests in the state doubled in one week, however, which does indicate a rise in community spread, according to CNBC.

Arizona and Texas have seen their percentages of positive tests increase as well, and hospitalizations are rising in both states, CNBC added.

While these three states currently represent nearly half of the new cases in the country, their Republican governors have so far resisted calls for a new round of business closures and statewide mask mandates. Florida and Texas have both temporarily banned bars from serving alcohol on the premises of bars and restaurants to try to curb the spread, as NBC News reported.

Second wave, or something else?

Some have speculated that the apparent rise in cases is, at least partially, the result of inaccurate testing data — including counting antibody tests as new cases when they aren’t — and counting people who have tested positive on multiple occasions as separate new cases.

Another factor that should mitigate some of the growing alarm about a possible second wave is that, according to TIME, many of the new cases seem to be impacting younger, more physically resilient demographic groups, and the virus itself does not seem to be as debilitating as it was back in March when community spread first began to occur.

As such, it is entirely possible that death rates will remain consistent or even drop even as cases spike under these circumstances.

Of course, these realities have not stopped the mainstream media from sowing renewed panic among the citizenry and advocating for another round of shutdowns that will only prolong the country’s economic pain and societal disruption.

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