Local officials predict COVID-19 surge in late May

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — City of Memphis leaders are preparing to fight the COVID-19 virus and the predicted surge leaders say is coming but it is not clear when it will hit.

There are at least three models, giving different dates for the surge. A study from the University of Washington said Tennessee’s surge would be this week. Researchers at Vanderbilt University are predicting the surge in mid-June.

Shelby County officials say they have their own statistics and the data gives a another date completely.

“It’s late May, early June. That’s the prediction we think,” Memphis City Councilman Dr. Jeff Warren said. “It’s gonna be a longer haul. The changes we’re seeing now seem to be slowing.”

Dr. Warren called the next two months a marathon, saying fighting the virus will take commitment and patience.

He says the task force pushed the surge target farther out because they’ve gotten new data that shows social distancing is working.

“I think what it says is we started really early. The mayor shut things down before the virus got a huge foothold,” Dr. Warren said.

A surge in late May gives officials more time to prepare. On Monday, they announced they’re building a second makeshift hospital at the former Commerical Appeal building on Union Avenue.

“They will work immediately. Takes 2 to 3 weeks to build it out,” Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.

Officials say we still need to find ways to stay apart to make the projections less damaging.

According to officials, wearing masks is another way we can stop the spread of the virus. Dr. Warren says essential workers should be wearing them at all times.

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