Three of the most populous states in the nation hardest hit by the coronavirus have seen cases surge with huge increases in recent days.
A coronavirus resurgence is wiping out two months of progress in the US and sending infections to dire new levels across the nation’s south and west.
Hospital administrators and health experts warned on Wednesday (local time) that politicians and a tired-of-being-cooped-up public are letting a disaster unfold.
Marc Boom, CEO of the Houston Methodist hospital system said people have gotten complacent.
“And it’s coming back and biting us, quite frankly.”
The US recorded a one-day total of 34,700 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, June 24, the highest level since late April, when the number peaked at 36,400, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.
While newly confirmed infections have been declining steadily in early hot spots such as New York and New Jersey, several other states set single-day records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas and Oklahoma.
Some of those states also broke hospitalisation records, as did North Carolina and South Carolina.
Coronavirus cases in California surge
California, Texas and Florida the three most populous states in the US and all three have experienced a surge in cases.
The California state government’s COVID-19 website shows there have been more than 190,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the state.
In California, 7149 cases were confirmed on Wednesday according to data compiled by the Associated Press, the state also confirmed 52 deaths.
Los Angeles county, in California, is now the most coronavirus-riddled county in the US, with more than 80,000 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins data.
Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said he would withhold pandemic-related funding from local governments that brush off state requirements on masks and other anti-virus measures.
“There are some that have made rhetorical comments about not giving a damn,” Newsom said in some of his most strident comments to date.
“That’s exactly why I look forward to signing this budget that will afford me a little bit of leverage in that conversation.”
‘We’re all in this together’: top doctor says
The nation’s top infectious-disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, generally applauded the governor’s bully pulpit approach to encouraging Californians to restore the sense of shared urgency they showed early on in the pandemic.
“You’ve got to get the population to realise that we’re all in this together,” Dr Fauci said in an online event Wednesday with the Sacramento Press Club.
It is not, ‘I’m taking care of myself, I don’t really care about you’.”
Texas facing ‘massive coronavirus outbreak’
In Texas, which began lifting its shutdowns on May 1, hospitalisations have doubled and new cases have tripled in two weeks.
Governor Greg Abbott told KFDA-TV the state is facing a “massive outbreak” and might need new local restrictions to preserve hospital space.
The Houston area’s intensive care units are nearly full, and two public hospitals are running at capacity, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
Houston Methodist’s Boom said Texans need to “behave perfectly and work together perfectly” to slow the infection rate.
On Wednesday, Texas recorded 5551 new cases of the coronavirus and 29 deaths.
Florida’s coronavirus case numbers soar to new record
Florida’s single-day count surged to 5,500, a 25 per cent jump from the record set last week and recorded 44 new coronavirus deaths on Wednesday.
During a Wednesday news conference near Miami, Govenor Ron DeSantis said the state’s spike is being driven by outbreaks in large metropolitan areas, which is why he hasn’t issued a statewide order requiring masks.
The Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Orlando and Tampa areas have seen the most cases.
Still, DeSantis said, every Floridian should avoid large indoor gatherings and wear a mask when in crowded businesses or in close contact with someone outside the home.
“Doing some of these simple things will make a big difference,” DeSantis said.
Florida’s rapidly escalating daily figures continue a trend that began when the state reopened its economy with some restrictions last month.
In a sign of the shift in the outbreak, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey announced they will ask visitors from states with high infection rates to quarantine themselves for 14 days.
In March, Florida issued such an order for visitors from the New York City area, where cases were soaring.
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