Northerners vacationing in the south could have contributed to COVID-19 surge, CDC director says

Northerners vacationing in the south could have contributed to COVID-19 surge, CDC director says
Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Robert Redfield, speaks during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing at the Department of Education building Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Washington. (Source: AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – An influx of northerners heading south for vacation could be part of the reason that southern states are seeing a rise in COVID-19 cases, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week.

During an interview posted to the JAMA Network’s YouTube channel, CDC Director Robert Redfield said he didn’t think the reopening of states is driving the current southern expansion of positive cases of the novel coronavirus.

“If you look at the south, everything happened around June 12 to June 16. It all simultaneously kind of popped, independent of whether you reopened or didn’t reopen, or when you reopened,” Redfield said.

According to Redfield, the view is that something else was the driving force behind a surge in COVID-19 cases in southern states like South Carolina. He pointed to Memorial Day week, “where a lot of northerners decided to go south for vacations.”

“The southern groups have never really taken the mitigation steps that seriously because they really didn’t have an outbreak,” Redfield said. “But something happened in mid-June that we’re now confronting right now, but it’s not so simple as just saying it was related to reopening or not reopening.”

As of July 15, there have been 62,701 positive COVID-19 cases in S.C. since the start of the pandemic and 984 confirmed deaths, health officials said.

According to the Associated Press, Arizona, Texas and Florida together reported about 25,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday as new restrictions aimed at combating the spread of the pandemic took hold in the United States and around the world.

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