The United States reached its highest daily total of new cases on Wednesday, with over 36,000 positive cases recorded, but several states still have not reported their full caseloads.
Public health officials predicted that a deadly surge may follow a reopening of the economy, and now that hundreds of millions of people are moving around again, California, Florida and Oklahoma have all set individual new case records.
The previous nationwide record for new daily COVID-19 cases in the US was set on April 25, with 34,203 cases.
The disease caused by the novel coronavirus has killed at least 120,000 people in the United States since February, and health officials believe the virus has killed more people than death tolls indicate.
The number of cases is spiking in states that had smaller outbreaks in the spring, when New York and New Jersey were the hardest hit. Florida, Arizona and Texas account for far more new cases than New York and New Jersey in the latest tallies.
Pockets of the virus continue to arise in nursing homes, prisons, factories and other facilities in more rural areas. The disease has hit communities of color especially hard.
The virus is accelerating as public health officials report not only more new cases but also increases in hospitalizations and in the percentage of tests that are coming up positive.
The country’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, in testimony before Congress emphasized the need for wearing masks to slow new surges as states loosen more of the restrictions that were put in place in March and April.
Most deaths worldwide have occurred among people older than 50 and those with underlying health problems, as they are often most vulnerable to respiratory disease.
However, researchers have also linked the disease to a mysterious and deadly inflammatory syndrome in hundreds of U.S. children, an indication that much is still unknown about the virus and the way it affects different people.
The Trump admiistration is blamed for botching America’s response to the disease.
Testing was slow to begin, and for months far fewer U.S. residents had been tested than experts believed necessary to get a true picture of the virus’s reach.
It wasn’t until June that U.S. testing met the World Health Organization’s guidelines and was considered thorough enough to accurately detect emerging hot spots.
“Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country, and ever expanding. With smaller testing we would show fewer cases,” said President Trump, as if what is unknown cannot hurt, but doctors say the illness will prove more likely fatal if patients are not treated.
It is now known if the President’s statement is a reflection of stupidity, but it is certainly hard to explain another way
When the country was conducting fewer than 150,000 tests per day, it was impossible to determine how quickly the virus was being transmitted.
Now, the U.S. can finally accurately determine where and how the virus is spreading.
All states and U.S. territories have eased restrictions on businesses and social activity, trying to restart economies battered by weeks of stay-at-home orders that affected some 315 million Americans.
Almost all schools are closed for the academic year, and many Americans remain nervous about venturing out, with widespread accounts of people still unable to get tested.
Cases continue to rise in some of the states where governors have been most aggressive in opening public spaces and businesses that rely on close personal contact, such as salons and gyms.
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