Though Redlener sees some of the new wave as inevitable, he estimates at least 130,000 of the nation’s more than 227,000 deaths could have been avoided had the country more widely embraced masks and social distancing.

Even if a Chinese-style lockdown wasn’t possible, Redlener said, a more modest approach like Canada’s, with a strong central message of caution in reopening and widespread mask-wearing and distancing, would have saved lives over the state-by-state and widely partisan approach.

Now the U.S. is seeing cases spike, especially in the Midwest and the Plains, with the country posting a record high number of new infections last week of nearly a half-million.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, likewise pointed to states’ varied responses to reopening for the rocketing case numbers.

“It was like a free-for-all,” Fauci said in an online forum Wednesday.