Coronavirus: Record rise in US infections for third day in a row

Several states continue breaking their own records as hospitalisations rise alarmingly

Andrew Naughtie
Friday 03 July 2020 11:28
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Donald Trump still thinks that coronavirus will 'disappear'

The US has set another record for the number of coronavirus cases reported in a single day, with more than 55,000 reported. The number not only breaks the US’s previous record of 52,788 set just the day before, but sets a new record for the highest daily number of new cases reported by any country.

And while the US’s death rate has not yet risen significantly, there is typically a lag between infections and fatalities, meaning a wave of new deaths is now expected in the coming weeks.

A massive 25,000 of the cases were reported across just four states, Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, that are seeing major surges in both infections and hospitalisations.

Some are pausing their plans to reopen their economies, while others — notably California and Texas — are closing businesses such as bars where crowds have congregated, often without masks and with scant attention to social distancing practices.

White House adviser Dr Anthony Fauci said earlier this week that various states’ uneven and arguably hasty reopenings risked creating “an all-or-none phenomenon where you’re either under lockdown or say, you know, the devil may care”, and that where bars and restaurants are serving indoor crowds, “it’s highly predictable that you’re going to get into trouble”.

Texas, which was one of the last states to impose lockdown measures and one of the first to start reopening, has issued an order mandating face masks in public spaces — even as its lieutenant governor, Dan Patrick, fumed against the advice of experts like Dr Fauci and said he would no longer listen to them, even as his state continues to break its own cases record every few days.

Florida, meanwhile, has for the first time counted more than 10,000 cases in a single day, just as vice president Mike Pence visited to discuss the state’s efforts with governor Ron DeSantis — who, like Mr Patrick, has previously scorned experts and pundits worried about the risk Florida took by reopening in May.

The state’s department of health reports that 49,000 people there have tested positive for coronavirus in the past seven days.

And in Arizona, one of the other newly surging states, the proportion of tests coming back positive has surged to well over 20 per cent even as testing capacity expands. Hospital systems are preparing for an expected spike in admissions, hiring staff from other states and adding new beds for fear of a situation like the one that gripped New York City in the spring.

But despite all that’s happening in the South and Southwest, Donald Trump continues to insist that the spiralling number of cases is a good sign, tweeting late last night that the US’s testing programme is “so massive and so good, far bigger and better than any other country”.

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