June 11, 2020 at 6:48 AM EDT – Updated June 11 at 7:39 AM
(CNN) – With more than 2 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, health officials fear some areas will see a spike in new infections over the next few months.
The novel coronavirus is expected to pose a significant threat this summer. The U.S. surpassed 2 million cases Wednesday, according to Johns Hopkins University. The milestone comes six weeks after the country reached 1 million cases in late April.
“The virus hasn’t gone away. It’s not like we’re looking for the second wave. The first wave isn’t gone,” said Dr. Jonathan Reiner, a professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences.
Twelve states have seen coronavirus hospitalizations rise since Memorial Day, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. Johns Hopkins University reports at least a 10% increase in week-to-week cases in 19 states.
Americas count for nearly half of global coronavirus cases
“Hospital leaders, they should be preparing for the next surge now, so that we don’t run into the problem of not having enough masks and personal protective equipment. I mean, it was a national disgrace that we ran out last time,” said Dr. Leana Wen, former Baltimore health commissioner.
The Harvard Global Health Institute predicts 100,000 more coronavirus-linked deaths in the U.S. by September. The country has seen at least 112,000 deaths since the pandemic started.
“Right now, we have between 800 and 1,000 people dying every single day in America, and all of the models, all of the data suggest that things are going to get worse. We’re going to have increases,” said Dr. Ashish Jha with the institute.
Johnson & Johnson is expected to start double-blind, randomized human vaccine trials next month, but in the meantime, health officials are reminding Americans to err on the side of caution.
“I’m not trying to scare people to stay at home. What I want is for people to wear masks. I want them to do social distancing,” Jha said.
Globally, more than 7.3 million people have been confirmed to be infected with the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University. At least 416,000 have died.
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