US COVID-19 deaths top 120,000 amid soaring new cases (Ld)

US COVID-19 deaths has surpassed 120,000 with over 2.3 million infections, while new cases continue to increase across the country after more than three months into the pandemic.

With 2,310,786 cases and 120,393 deaths, the US continued with the world’s highest number of COVID-19 infections and fatalities as of Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University (JHU).

New York state reported 388,488 cases with 31,125 deaths, reports Xinhua news agency.

Other states with over 5,000 COVID-19 deaths include New Jersey, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and California, showed the JHU data.

In the US, the virus spread has trended downward in some of the hard-hit places including New York City, once the epicenter of the US COVID-19 pandemic.

New York City entered phase two of reopening on Monday, during which hair salons, real estate sales, vehicle sales and rentals, some in-store retails are allowed to reopen.

Restaurants can serve customers in outdoor space, according to New York state’s phased reopening strategy.

However, several US states in the South and Southwest were seeing upticks in their coronavirus case counts.

As of Sunday, the nation’s seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases increased more than 24 per cent compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of JHU data.

Cases were growing by 5 percent or more in 25 states, including Arizona, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma.

According to the CNBC analysis, hospitalizations from COVID-19 were growing in 14 states as of Sunday.

In Texas, there were 2,913 people hospitalized with COVID-19 based on a seven-day moving average, a 37 per cent increase compared to a week ago.

Arizona reported 1,702 people hospitalized on a seven-day average, a near 29 per cent increase compared to a week ago.

Calling the situation “very unsatisfactory”, Jeffrey Sachs, a renowned economics professor at Columbia University, recently 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 model produced by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington recently revised its projections, forecasting nearly 170,000 COVID-19 deaths in the US by October 1.