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Health Officials Predict Summer COVID Increase


The city of Memphis has delayed reopening more businesses until at least June 16.
Credit WikiMedia Commons via https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88797679
The city of Memphis has delayed reopening more businesses until at least June 16.

 Listen to an audio version of the story.

New cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County are now increasing on average by more than 100 a day, compared to about 60-70 when the county began lifting restrictions on non-essential businesses in early May. Health officials expect cases to continue rising through the summer.

Shelby County epidemiologist David Sweat is “concerned,” but not alarmed by the increase.  

“We’ve always known that whenever you increase the density of encounters, that that increases the opportunity of the virus to find new hosts,” Sweat said at Thursday’s COVID briefing. 

Even with the climbing numbers, he says area hospitals have beds to spare, for now. 

“Our overall objective is to flatten the curve and to preserve the healthcare system’s ability to handle the number of cases that do exist,” he said.  “We haven’t been in a mode for a long time of believing that we could prevent all transmission.” 

But, the new trend in cases was enough for Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland to delay the city’s next wave of business reopenings until at least June 16. Recent modeling shows that local coronavirus infections could now peak as late as Thanksgiving.  

Copyright 2020 WKNO

Katie joined the WKNO team in 2019. She's always eager to hear your story ideas. You can email her at kriordan@wkno.org