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White House Warns These Cities Must Take 'Aggressive' Action Against COVID-19

Dr. Deborah Birx said on a private call these hot zones are in trouble

"Dr. Deborah Birx, a leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, warned state and local leaders in a private phone call Wednesday that 11 major cities are seeing increases in the percentage of tests coming back positive for COVID-19 and should take 'aggressive' steps to mitigate their outbreaks," reports the Center for Public Integrity. Click through to see which 11 states made the list.


Baltimore, Maryland

Colorful row houses on Guilford Avenue, in Charles Village, Baltimore, Maryland.

"Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. 'Jack' Young on Wednesday ordered city restaurants to suspend indoor dining by the end of the week and announced expanded requirements for face coverings," reports the Baltimore Sun. "Young, a Democrat, is among a group of local leaders pushing for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to take statewide action and renew certain dining restrictions in an attempt to curb the recent spike in coronavirus cases. The city is now moving ahead on its own."


Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio, USA downtown skyline on the river.

"Cases continue to tick upward in Cleveland, and as of Wednesday evening, there were 3,812 confirmed infections and 83 fatalities," reports 19 News. "Meanwhile, sources say hospitalizations are going up in Northeast Ohio, and 19 News is reaching out to the region's major hospital systems to get an accurate total of new COVID-19 patients."


Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio, USA skyline on the Scioto River.

"The state's largest school district may not be opening its doors to students this fall after all. Dr. Talisa Dixon, the superintendent of Columbus City Schools, made that announcement during a call with reporters on Sunday," according to WBNS. "Coronavirus case numbers are rising in the district's attendance boundaries." "I know parents want to know right now what are we going to do, but I just don't have that answer right now," she said.


Indianapolis, Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA skyline over Soliders' and Sailors' Monument at dusk.

"Indiana last week set a new record for new coronavirus cases, according to a USA Today analysis of Johns Hopkins University data," reports IndyStar. "The analysis found that the 5,169 reported cases seen over the past week was nearly 8% higher than the worst week in the spring when coronavirus peaked in late April with 4,796 cases."


Las Vegas, Nevada

Las Vegas Strip during Coronavirus Pandemic

"On the same day of the warning, Las Vegas announced plans to increase testing and step up the city's monitoring of businesses to ensure compliance with public health rules over fears that a worsening coronavirus situation in Clark County could lead to another shutdown," reports the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

RELATED: Dr. Fauci Says Here's How You'll Never Catch COVID-19


Miami, Florida

Skyline from Miami as seen from Watson Island

"Florida is seeing record increases in new hospitalizations and continuing a weeklong record surge in deaths of its residents, as the number of new cases announced Tuesday slowed to the smallest increase in a week," reports NBC Miami. "With 9,440 new coronavirus related cases, Florida's total reached 369,834, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health. The 134 new confirmed deaths brought the state's death toll to 5,206." Governor Ron DeSantis refuses to issue a statewide face mask mandate.


Minneapolis, Minnesota

minneapolis skyline

"State inspectors checked more than 900 bars and restaurants around the state in recent weeks and warned 14 that they were violating Gov. Tim Walz's order to require workers to wear masks, keep capacity at half the maximum and space seating at least 6 feet apart in the long-running effort to combat the deadly coronavirus," reports the Star Tribune.


Nashville, Tennessee

Honky-tonks on Lower Broadway

"The Tennessee Department of Health reported 109 COVID-19 hospitalizations, which is the highest single-day increase since the beginning of the pandemic," reports News Channel 5. "As of Wednesday, a total of 84,417 people have tested positive for COVID-19 including 888 deaths, 3,907 hospitalizations and 49,748 people who have recovered."


New Orleans, Louisiana

Pubs and bars with neon lights in the French Quarter,

"When coronavirus cases reached 10,000 in Louisiana on April 3, Governor John Bel Edwards called it a 'grim milestone.'  According to a new study from federal researchers, the real case count in those early days of the state's outbreak was actually much grimmer," reports "By early April, there were at least 267,000 people infected with the coronavirus in Louisiana, or about one out of every 17 residents, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which was published earlier this week in JAMA Internal Medicine."


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

pittsburg, pennsylvania

"The state of Pennsylvania won't allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh amid the coronavirus pandemic, health officials announced Wednesday, becoming the second jurisdiction to say no to the team as the baseball season begins this week," reports the Inquirer. "In recent weeks, we have seen a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania," Dr. Rachel Levine, the state's secretary of health, said in a statement. "To add travelers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams."


St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri, USA downtown cityscape on the river at dusk.

"The leader of the St. Louis Metropolitan Pandemic Task Force said Wednesday that hospital admissions in the area are climbing at a 'critical rate' that is unsustainable if the current trend continues," reports KDSK. "Dr. Alex Garza, the incident commander of the task force, said the area hospitals admitted 40 or more new COVID-19 patients two of the last three days. He said it was the first time that has happened in nearly three months."

RELATED: 21 Subtle Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus


What's Next For These Cities

female doctor or nurse wearing face protective medical mask for protection from virus disease with computer and clipboard calling on phone at hospital

In audio from the call posted by the Center for Public Integrity, Birx said that cities such as Las Vegas were "lagging behind" in lowering test positivity. Wrote the Center for Public Integrity: "Birx told hundreds of emergency managers and other state and local leaders that they should act quickly to stem the outbreaks. Among her recommendations were to trace the contacts of patients testing positive for COVID-19 in areas where test positivity is going up."

"When you first see that increase in test positivity, that is when to start the mitigation efforts," she said in a recording obtained by Public Integrity. "I know it may look small and you may say, 'That only went from 5 to 5-and-a-half [percent], and we're gonna wait and see what happens.' If you wait another three or four or even five days, you'll start to see a dramatic increase in cases."


How to Stay Healthy in Your City

Medical worker performing drive-thru COVID-19 test,taking nasal swab specimen sample from male patient through car window.

To stay healthy no matter where you live, wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have COVID-19, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 37 Places You're Most Likely to Catch Coronavirus.

Alek Korab
Alek Korab is a Co-Founder and Managing Editor of the ETNT Health channel on Eat This, Not That! Read more about Alek
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