Several US states have witnessed a surged in the number of COVID-19 cases as businesses continue to resume operations across the nation, casting a shadow over the current path to reopening economies.
Florida, for example, reported 4,049 new cases on Saturday, setting a single-day record for the third day in a row, Xinhua news agency quoted data from the state’s Department of Health as saying on Sunday.
In California, the number of COVID-19 cases has increased to 173,324 as it recorded its highest single-day spike on Sunday.
According to the data from the California Department of Public Health, 4,515 new virus diagnoses were identified statewide in the last 24 hours, beating the previous record of 4,317 new cases reported on Friday.
South Carolina, Missouri, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Montana also hit records on the day, according to a report from The New York Times, which noted that Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma and Oregon hit records earlier in the week.
More than 30,000 new infections were reported across the nation on both Friday and Saturday, indicating a nationwide uptick in COVID-19 cases, despite a downward trend in over 10 states including New York and New Jersey.
“We’re seeing a resurgence in the south and the southeast, they really never got rid of their epidemics,” Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration, told CBS News on Sunday.
Gottlieb said Texas, Arizona and Florida could be overwhelmed as cases continue to surge.
Noting that it is a mistake that many Americans are not wearing masks, Gottlieb urged the pubic to wear masks to protect others and themselves and help reopen the economy safely.
Calling the situation “very unsatisfactory”, Jeffrey Sachs, a renowned economics professor at Columbia University, told Xinhua that as the virus continues to spread rapidly, the federal government has “basically lost interest” in controlling the virus.
“The results are likely to be very bad: a big resurgence of disease and deaths,” said Sachs, also a senior UN advisor.
Public health experts believe that states’ hasty efforts to reopen their economies, weeks of nationwide protests over the death of unarmed black man George Floyd, as well as some Americans’ unwillingness to practice social distancing, or wear a mask, have all contributed to the recent surge in cases.
Since late April, US states, facing record unemployment, have gradually started to reopen their economies, despite not seeing a significant downward trend in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations.
An influential COVID-19 model produced by the University of Washington raised its projections on June 18, forecasting more than 200,000 Americans could die of COVID-19 by October 1, an increase of 30,000 deaths from its projections in the prior week.
With 2,279,306 cases and 119,967 deaths, the US on Monday morning continued with the world’s highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities, according to the Johns Hopkins University.