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25 Jun, 2020 03:12

US reports RECORD jump in coronavirus cases as states mull tougher restrictions, blaming anything but packed protests

US reports RECORD jump in coronavirus cases as states mull tougher restrictions, blaming anything but packed protests

The US has broken its own record for the number of coronavirus cases recorded in a single day, with more than 38,000 new patients confirmed in the last 24 hours, topping a high set in April, as some states see infections spike.

Some 38,672 new cases were reported on Wednesday, according to data collected by the Covid Tracking Project, breaking a previous record set on April 25 by 2,671 infections. The new milestone comes amid a resurgence of the virus across some regions of the country, particularly in southern states.

Florida, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, California and Missouri also each broke their own daily case records on Wednesday, the project’s data showed, and join 13 other states to have done the same over the last five days.

California Governor Gavin Newsom reported an especially alarming figure during a press event on Wednesday, noting the state had seen a 69 percent jump in cases in the span of just two days, warning he may “revert back” to tougher containment measures. The governor of Texas has similarly reversed course, authorizing local officials to impose new restrictions on outdoor gatherings and to mandate face masks in public, after an attempt to reopen last month.

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Though a surge in testing explains some of the recent increases, health experts have argued ramped up screenings cannot account for the whole spike, pointing to greater numbers of deaths and hospitalizations in some areas, which suggest outbreaks are accelerating.

Previously the hardest-hit region, the northeast has largely seen a decline in new cases – namely in New York – however, Governor Phil Murphy in nearby New Jersey has warned his state is “far from defeating Covid-19,” citing an increase in hospitalizations.

While local, state and federal health officials have stressed the need to maintain social distancing as many areas continue to lift sweeping lockdown measures, some have voiced concern about citizens resuming life as normal too quickly, with many flocking to bars, restaurants and other public venues after months of isolation.

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Crowded mass protests sparked in hundreds of cities by the police killing of George Floyd in late May have also mostly defied health guidelines, likely contributing to the spike in cases in recent weeks. Media coverage of the rise in infections has focused almost entirely on those gathering at clubs and beaches, however, virtually ignoring the massive marches as a potential factor. Despite speaking in dire terms about protests over lockdown measures in recent months, many talking heads – as well as over 1,000 health experts – have endorsed the anti-police brutality demonstrations, downplaying the risks.

To date, the US has tallied in excess of 2.3 million coronavirus infections and more than 115,000 deaths, holding its place as the world’s top hotspot for the illness. With outbreaks taking off in South America, however, Brazil has been thrust into second place, with some 1.1 million cases and nearly 54,000 fatalities.

Last Sunday saw the greatest single-day increase in cases worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, which reported more than 183,000 new patients, sending the global disease toll over nine million.

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