New US Covid-19 cases hit record high, south and west worst hit

An empty playground is surrounded by caution tape amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Seabrook, Texas July 8, 2020. — Reuters pic
An empty playground is surrounded by caution tape amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Seabrook, Texas July 8, 2020. — Reuters pic

LOS ANGELES, July 16 — The number of new coronavirus cases and fatalities continued to mount across the United States yesterday, with Texas and Oklahoma recording new highs.

Johns Hopkins University, which tracks the spread of the disease, said late yesterday that 67,632 new cases of the disease had been reported across the country in the previous 24 hours, a new national record.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reported 10,791 new cases and 110 new fatalities, saying in a tweet that both numbers “are new highs” for the state.

Oklahoma — where the governor, Kevin Stitt, announced Wednesday he had tested positive for the virus — recorded 1,075 new cases, a single-day record.

And Alabama also hit a grim milestone, recording 47 deaths, the highest in one day.

The disease has also been spreading rapidly in other states, notably Florida, which has recorded nearly 302,000 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began.

California has also seen a surge in recent weeks, prompting officials to reimpose lockdowns.

The state reported its second highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases and deaths yesterday, with 11,125 new cases and 140 additional deaths.

“We are in an alarming and dangerous phase in this pandemic here in LA County,” said Barbara Ferrer, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health director, as she announced 44 additional deaths from the virus yesterday and 2,758 new cases.

“These alarming trends reflect behaviours from three weeks ago,” she added, saying that the county was seeing the highest rates of hospitalisations since the beginning of the pandemic.

She said there were currently 2,193 people hospitalised in the county due to the virus.

“Younger people are being hospitalized at a faster rate than ever before,” Ferrer said.

The latest research models show the number of US deaths projected to rise to over 150,000 by next month. The death toll currently stands at more than 136,400 and there have been more than 3.5 million people infected in the US since the outbreak began.

Though the number of new cases slowed in late spring, they began to climb again in mid-June as states lifted restrictions and the wearing of a mask became a political dividing line.

President Donald Trump finally wore a mask publicly last week for the first time during the pandemic as he visited a military hospital.

Facial coverings have been recommended by health officials as a precaution against spreading or becoming infected by coronavirus, but many US states have been slow in imposing the wearing of masks in public. — AFP

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