FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Four U.S. states — Arizona, California, Florida and Texas — reported a combined 25,000 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday as the infection curve rose in 40 of the 50 states heading into the July Fourth holiday weekend.
With the number of daily confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide climbing past 50,000, an alarming 36 states saw an increase in the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus.
“What we’ve seen is a very disturbing week,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, said in a livestream with the American Medical Association.
In a major retreat that illustrated how dire things have become in Texas, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ordered the wearing of masks across most of the state after refusing until recently to let even local governments impose such rules.
The surge has been blamed in part on Americans not covering their faces or following other social distancing rules as states lifted their lockdowns over the past few weeks. Fauci warned that if people don’t start complying, “we’re going to be in some serious difficulty.”
The U.S. recorded 51,200 new confirmed cases Wednesday, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University. That represents a doubling of the daily total over the past month and is higher even than what the country witnessed during the most lethal phase of the crisis in April and May, when the New York metropolitan area was easily the worst hot spot in the U.S.
All but 10 states are showing an upswing in newly reported cases over the past 14 days, according to data compiled by the volunteer COVID Tracking Project. The outbreaks are most severe in Arizona, Texas and Florida, which together with California have reclosed or otherwise clamped back down on bars, restaurants and movie theaters over the past week or so.
Nebraska and South Dakota were the only states outside the Northeast with a downward trend in cases.