United States suspends reopening plans as cases of COVID-19 surges daily.

Dr Anthony Stephen Fauci and president Donald Trump

 

The United States recorded an all-time daily increase of 40,000 coronavirus infections on Thursday, figures from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) show.

A current surge in infections and hospitalisations has prompted the states of Texas, Florida and Arizona to pause reopening plans.

Texas’s governor has ordered bars to close and announced other “targeted measures” to bring infections down

The US has 2.4 million confirmed infections and 122,370 deaths – more than any other country.

While some of the increase in daily cases recorded is down to increased testing, the rate of positive tests in some areas is also increasing.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said up to 20 million Americans may have been infected with coronavirus. The estimate was based on blood samples collected from across the country which were tested for the presence of antibodies to the virus.

Health officials in the US estimate the true number of cases is likely to be 10 times higher than the reported figure.

Texas, which has been at the forefront of moves to end lockdown measures, has seen thousands of new cases, prompting Republican Governor Greg Abbott to call a temporary halt to its reopening on Friday.

He announced that he was closing bars, stopping river-rafting, and ordering restaurants to return to 50% capacity to try to stem the outbreak.

Texas confirmed a record of 5,996 new cases on Thursday, while there were also 47 more deaths reported, the highest daily toll for a month.

Florida broke its own daily record for new infections, reporting 8,942 new cases. The previous record was 5,508, reported on Wednesday. The state now has a total of 122,960 recorded cases and 3,366 deaths

State officials announced that alcohol consumption was being suspended at bars across the state. However, it was not clear how the new measures would affect restaurants that served alcohol, the Miami Herald reported.

Earlier, Florida’s governor said there was no plan to continue reopening step-by-step. “We are where we are. I didn’t say we were going to go on to the next phase,” Ron DeSantis told reporters.

Arizona has emerged as another epicentre of the crisis. Disease trackers there say the state has “lost control of the epidemic”, the Washington Post reports. Governor Doug Ducey, who had been giving businesses a “green light” to reopen, now says Arizona residents are “safer at home.

Other states, including Alabama, California, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Wyoming, have all seen record daily increases in the number of confirmed cases this week

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have said they will ask people travelling from eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah – to go into self-isolation for 14 days.

In California, which reported a record of 7,149 new confirmed cases on Wednesday, Disney said it was delaying reopening of its Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park originally set for 17 July. The company said it first needed to receive approval from government officials.

Governor Gavin Newsom said the state had carried out more than a million tests over the past two weeks, with about 5% coming back positive.

Mr Newsom has made wearing a face mask mandatory in public.

BBC.

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