Three southern US states have seen thousands more people contract Covid-19 this week as confirmed cases surpass previous 24-hour highs.
Arizona reported 2,392 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday whilst Texas reported 2,622 and Florida reported 2,783 new cases.
The three Sun Belt states, who were among the earliest to ease lockdown measures, are now among 21 states with an upward spike in Covid-19 infections, according to John Hopkins University data.
Some public health experts are now concerned that virus transmission is increasing as states open-up.
Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, meanwhile dismissed those concerns and said he would not shut down the state.
“We’re going to go forward. We’re going to continue to protect the most vulnerable,” said Mr DeSantis on Tuesday. “We’re going to urge, continue to advise, particularly our elderly population to maintain social distancing, avoid crowds.”
“We’re not shutting down,” he added. “You have to have society function.”
Those comments came as bars on Florida’s Jacksonville Beach closed to sanitise this weekend, some seven days after the state permitted bars, cinemas and tattoo parlours to reopen.
Mr DeSantis, who maintains that increased testing has contributed to new highs in Covid-19 cases, denied that businesses were to blame on Tuesday.
“There’s been community spread the whole time”, argued Mr DeSantis.
Texas governor Greg Abbott attributed increased cases to backlogged infection reporting, among other anomalies, on Tuesday.
Along with Florida and Arizona, Texas has however seen more hospitalised patients with Covid-19 since May, then was recorded in March when the pandemic began, said The New York Times.
In Arizona, the state health department’s website crashed on Tuesday as authorities announced the new one-day high in coronavirus cases.
Despite those statistics, US vice president Mike Pence announced on the same day that there had been a ”great American comeback” from the pandemic.
Anthony Fauci, the Trump administration’s top infectious disease expert, meanwhile warned that the pandemic’s second wave was still to come.
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