The U.S. the third day with new daily cases of coronavirus surpassing 50,000, hitting a new 24-hour high of 57,497.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which was first identified in Wuhan, China in December, had infected 11,124,651 people globally and 2,808,003 in the U.S. as of Saturday. It had claimed at least 526,003 lives worldwide, 129,476 of which were in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering.
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for three decades and one of the leading experts on pandemics in the U.S. for the last four decades, has said Americans and lawmakers need to reconsider some of their actions.
“ New York has had the most deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., followed by New Jersey and Massachusetts. ”
On Thursday, Fauci said the virus may be mutating to become more transmissible. “We don’t have a connection between whether an individual does worse with this or not. It just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible. But this is still at the stage of trying to confirm that.”
Fauci focused on three main failings by both the public and authorities: Many states have reopened too quickly, people are not abiding by rules of social distancing, and the authorities could do a better job at contact tracing to track people who’ve been in contact with those who test positive.
Florida reported 11,458 new cases Saturday, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began, only second to the daily peak of 11,571 in New York last April.
It confirmed nearly 190,052 cases, up from 178,594 cases the day before, which do not account include those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, and 3,702, up from 3,684 the day before, deaths from the virus.
Unlike officials in California and Texas, however, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has said the state will not delay its reopening plans, and said the rise is mostly due to young people gathering in bars and restaurants and in outside spaces rather than businesses reopening.
Ten Democratic state lawmakers signed a letter on Friday telling DeSantis to introduce a statewide order for people to wear masks in public spaces.
“In watching the devastation that COVID-19 is causing in our communities,” according to the letter, “we strongly recommend that the State of Florida implement a mandatory use of face covering over the nose and mouth while in a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible.”
“ Florida reported 11,458 new cases Saturday, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began. ”
Thus far, New York has had the most deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. (32,137), followed by New Jersey (15,164), Massachusetts (8,149), Illinois (7,005), Pennsylvania (6,746), California (6,318) and Michigan (6,215). Texas has reported 2,592 deaths from the virus.
The U.S. Surgeon General and the Department of Health and Human Services issued a public-service announcement this week, urging Americans to follow the guidelines of washing their hands frequently, socially distancing and wearing face masks in public spaces.
While COVID-19’s progress has slowed in states such as New York, where most cases in the U.S. are still centered, confirmed coronavirus cases have risen in 37 U.S. states, with some of the most populous states such as Florida, Texas and California a key cause for concern.
New cases are up 43% in Florida over the past week, up 32% in Arizona, up 37% in the Virgin Islands, up 37% in Montana and South Carolina, up 35% in Texas, up 31% in Idaho, and up 20% in California over the same period, according to this tally by the Washington Post.
On Thursday, DeSantis met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the rise in cases in the state, and urged Floridians to wear masks in public and avoid large crowds. “I want the people of Florida to know we’re in a much better place thanks to the leadership of President Trump,” he said.
Florida has seen a rise in hospitalizations in recent days and, while most of those were among older people, an 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade County died from complications from the disease, the youngest person in the state to die from COVID-19 and third child in the state to die from the disease.
DeSantis instructed bars, which are allowed to open to half of their usual capacity, to stop selling alcohol as one concession to the surge in coronavirus cases, but the state does not have restrictions on the number of people who can gather in stores and gyms.
The Dow Jones Industrial Index DJIA, +0.35% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.45% were up Friday, after better-than-expected unemployment numbers amid a surge of coronavirus in states that have loosened restrictions.
How COVID-19 is transmitted