Despite overall US coronavirus cases declining, experts are warning that middle America is seeing spikes in cases as colleges reopen

  • Coronavirus cases in the US overall are declining but experts worry as the regions in the middle of the country experience surges and students return to colleges. 
  • Daily average cases dropped by 21% from the beginning of the month to 43,000 new cases daily on Tuesday. 
  • However, states and cities in the Midwest are seeing spikes and surges of new coronavirus cases.
  • Universities that have reopened are also reporting coronavirus case clusters. 
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Coronavirus cases in the US are declining but experts worry that the Midwest may see an uptick in cases as students return to college. 

"The next area of tremendous concern is the Midwest and Upper Midwest. It is clear now that from Indiana, through Ohio and into Kentucky and Missouri, as well as northward into Illinois and Michigan, there is a substantial increased risk throughout the region," a report from PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said in late July. 

Data from John Hopkins shows that in Kansas, the weekly average of daily cases on Monday increased by 100 from mid-June to 561. 

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly told CNN that the state hit an "unfortunate milestone" now that every county has reported a case, and infections are going up. Kelly also expressed concern over clusters of cases reported at universities as they reopen. 

The University of Kansas reported over 80 COVID-19 cases last week, CNN reported. 

Coronavirus clusters have been reported on several US campuses, including the 566 COVID-19 cases at the University of Alabama, just six days after the campus re-opened. 

The US is reporting around 43,000 new cases daily, a 21% decrease from the beginning of this month, according to data from John Hopkins University. 

The Los Angeles Times reported that experts credit the reduced infections partly to people wearing masks.

"It's profoundly hopeful news," Dr. Monica Gandhi, an infectious-diseases expert at UC San Francisco, told the Times. 

Gandhi told the outlet that the public's growing understanding of how the virus spreads, better adherence to mask-wearing and a potential increase in the level of immunity are contributing to the decreased rate across the country. 

So far, the US has recorded more than 5.7 million cases with over 178,000 deaths. 

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield warned last week that while cases may be declining in previous hotspots in the South and West regions of the country, they're picking up in Middle America. 

Hard-hit states like Florida are seeing marked decreases in cases. The state reported 2,600 new virus cases Tuesday compared to the 10,000 new cases it was regularly reporting earlier summer. 

"That is why it's so important for Middle America to recognize the mitigation that we talked about … it's for Middle America too, the Nebraskas, the Oklahomas," US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN. "We don't need to have a third wave in the heartland right now."

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert, echoed Redfield's concerns, warning that the Midwest could see a rise in cases if officials in those states don't implement measures to help curb the spread.

"Some states are not doing that," Fauci told NPR about states who aren't taking proper guidelines. "We would hope that they all now rethink what happens when you don't adhere to that. We've seen it in plain sight in the Southern states that surged. So we've got to get back to a very prudent advance from one stage to another."

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