June 24, 2020

The United States on Tuesday reported about 34,700 new cases of the novel coronavirus—marking the highest single-day total of new cases the country has reported in two months and bringing the country back in line with its previous peak in the epidemic.

US coronavirus cases are spiking. Are deaths about to surge too?

US coronavirus cases surpass 2.3M, death toll tops 121K

U.S. officials as of Wednesday morning reported 2,357,200 cases of the new coronavirus—up from 2,322,100 cases as of Tuesday morning.

The United States' coronavirus epidemic had seen a downward trend in newly reported cases for six consecutive weeks, the Associated Press reports, as states had closed nonessential businesses, implemented stay-at-home orders, and imposed social distancing and other protocols to curb the virus' spread.

However, the country's daily number of newly reported coronavirus cases now has grown for more than a week and has returned to the record-high levels the country reported in April, during the previous peak of the epidemic, the AP reports. U.S. officials have reported larger single-day increases than the 34,700 new cases reported Tuesday on only two other occasions: on April 9 and April 24, when officials logged record-highs of 36,400 new coronavirus cases in a 24-hour period.

Data from the New York Times shows that 27 states—Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming—saw their average daily numbers of newly reported cases of the novel coronavirus rise over the past 14 days.

On Tuesday, seven states—Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas—reported the highest single-day increases in new cases that each state had seen since America's coronavirus epidemic first began, the Washington Post reports. Many of the states experiencing surges in newly reported coronavirus cases also are seeing spikes in their numbers of hospitalizations for Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus. In Texas, for example, the state's daily number of newly reported cases of the virus and its number of hospitalizations for Covid-19 have doubled over the past month, the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, the New York Times' data shows that the average daily numbers of newly reported cases over the past two weeks remained mostly stable in Guam and 13 states: Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

In addition, Puerto Rico, Washington, D.C., and 10 states—Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia—saw their average daily numbers of newly confirmed cases decrease over the past 14 days, according to the data.

As of Wednesday morning, officials had reported a total of 121,178 U.S. deaths linked to the new coronavirus—up from 120,345 deaths reported as of Tuesday morning.

Officials, experts urge Americans to stay home, take precautions to avoid transmission

As the numbers of newly reported coronavirus cases and related deaths continue to climb in the United States, officials and public health experts are renewing their calls for Americans to stay home and take precautions to protect themselves against the virus—even if businesses continue to reopen in their states.

Cheryl Holder, an associate professor at Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine at Florida International University, said Americans should not assume Covid-19 is "benign, that it's just a little cold," because "it's not." She added, "[T]he best method to protect you and protect others: to socially distance, use your mask, use a face shield—that may be even better."

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during a hearing held Tuesday by House lawmakers said Americans should avoid large crowds and wear face masks or coverings to protect themselves against the virus in instances when social distancing isn't possible.

Separately, NIH Director Francis Collins warned Americans against traveling in the country, noting that he canceled a planned beach vacation in South Carolina to protect his family against the coronavirus.

"I know people are really hoping to have a chance to get out and do something besides sitting at home like I am right now for the 13th week in a row," Collins told USA Today's editorial board during a meeting on Tuesday. "But at the same time, that does come with certain consequences, and particularly for people who have greater vulnerability because of age or chronic disease, I would think that ought to be taken with great seriousness."

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) urged state residents to stay home to help curb the state's surge in new cases of the virus, as the state reported more than 5,000 new cases in a single day on Tuesday. Abott said many state residents have not yet recognized the severity of the coronavirus epidemic, and "[b]ecause the spread is so rampant right now, there is never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you do need to go out."

Some state and local officials have gone a step further and have decided to slow down their reopening plans, reimpose coronavirus-related restrictions, and implement new measures intended to contain the virus.

For instance, less than two weeks after reopening, Yosemite National Park in California on Tuesday canceled upcoming campsite reservations at the park.

In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee (D) on Tuesday announced a statewide mandate requiring all individuals in the state older than five to wear masks in all public outdoor and indoor settings when they cannot maintain six feet of physical distance between them and others.

Inslee also imposed stricter requirements for businesses in Washington's Yakima County, where a hospital has reached capacity because of new Covid-19 cases and had to send patients to other facilities across the state. Inslee said businesses in Yakima County cannot operate unless they ensure their customers wear face coverings.

Meanwhile, officials in Riley County, Kansas—where coronavirus cases swelled by more than 50% over the past week—said they intend to strengthen restrictions on mass gatherings.

"I think we may have let our guard down a little bit," said Julie Gibbs, Riley County's local health officer (Perry/Moritsugu, Associated Press, 6/24; Knowles et al., Washington Post, 6/23; New York Times, 6/23 [1]; O'Sullivan, Seattle Times, 6/23; Greene, NPR, 6/23; Neergaard/Alonso-Zaldivar, Associated Press, 6/23; Oliver, USA Today, 6/23; New York Times, 6/24 [2]).

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