Texas surgery halt could spread

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Having seen a resurgence of Covid-19 cases since lifting lockdown measures, the state of Texas has now thrown itself into partial reverse, banning elective surgeries at some hospitals to increase emergency capacity. Other states are likely to follow this lead, spelling yet more tough times for orthopaedics companies. With nearly 33,000 cases reported in the past week, according to the CDC, Texas is second only to California on this measure; Covid-19 infections are also rising fast in Florida, Arizona and North Carolina, which could also see legal moves to postpone less urgent procedures. Analysts from Bernstein point out that, because the Texas halt was instituted by a Republican governor, it will be politically easier for other Republican governors to institute similar lockdowns. Florida and Arizona are both governed by Republicans, and also have relatively large populations of seniors who require exactly the sort of surgeries that can be put off. According to Stifel, orthopaedic surgeons believe that volumes of total joint replacement will be some of the slowest to return to normal. If they are right, companies including Zimmer Biomet and Stryker could be most exposed, EvaluateMedTech data show.

US states with biggest increases in Covid-19 cases
State Total cases Total deaths Cases in past 7 days
California 190,222 5,632 36,662
Texas 125,921 2,249 32,715
Florida 106,743 3,281 28,615
Arizona 59,974 1,463 20,877
North Carolina 56,174 1,271 10,321
Source: CDC.

*Wright Medical's acquisition by Stryker is yet to close.
 

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