BEIJING – A coronavirus resurgence is ending two months of progress in the US. USA And sending infections to terrifyingly new levels in the south and west, with hospital administrators and health experts warning Wednesday that politicians and a public weary of being locked up letting a disaster unfold.
The United States recorded a one-day total of 34,700 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the highest level since late April, when the number peaked at 36,400, according to a count maintained by Johns Hopkins University.
While recently confirmed infections have declined steadily in early hot spots like New York and New Jersey, several other states set one-day records this week, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Texas, and Oklahoma. Some of them also broke hospitalization records, as did North Carolina and South Carolina.
“People became complacent,” said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO of the Houston Methodist Hospital System. “And he’s coming back and biting us, frankly.”
Stocks fell on Wall Street as news lowered hopes of rapid economic change. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 700 points for a 2.7% drop. The broader S&P 500 fell 2.6%.
More than 120,000 deaths have been attributed to the virus in the United States, the highest number in the world, and more than 2.3 million confirmed infections across the country. On Wednesday, the computer model of the outbreak, widely cited by the University of Washington, projected nearly 180,000 deaths by Oct. 1.
California reported more than 7,100 new cases, and Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom said he would withhold pandemic-related funds from local governments that ignore state requirements for masks and other anti-virus measures. Florida’s single-day count rose to 5,500, a jump from 25% of the record set last week.
In Texas, which began suspending its closings on May 1, hospitalizations have doubled and new cases have tripled in two weeks. Governor Greg Abbott told KFDA-TV that the state is facing a “massive outbreak” and that it may need new local restrictions to preserve the hospital space.
The Houston-area intensive care units are nearly full, and two public hospitals are operating at full capacity, said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Houston Methodist’s Boom said Texans must “behave perfectly and work together perfectly” to reduce the infection rate.
“When I look at a restaurant or a business where people … don’t follow the guidelines, where people just throw caution to the wind, it makes me angry,” he said.
Only 17 percent of intensive care beds were available Wednesday in Alabama, including just one in Montgomery, although hospitals may add more, said Dr. Don Williamson, head of the Alabama Hospital Association.
“There is nothing I am seeing that makes me think we are getting ahead of this,” he said.
In Arizona, emergency rooms treat about 1,200 suspected COVID-19 patients per day, compared to about 500 a month ago. If trends continue, hospitals will likely exceed capacity in the coming weeks, said Dr. Joseph Gerald, professor of public health policy at the University of Arizona.
“We are in serious trouble,” Gerald said, urging the state to impose new restrictions on companies, which Governor Doug Ducey has refused to do.
Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease expert at Baylor College of Medicine in Texas, said he is concerned that states waste what time they have to avoid a much bigger crisis.
“We are still talking about subtlety, still arguing whether we should wear masks or not, and we still don’t understand that a vaccine is not going to rescue us,” he said.
The Texas governor initially banned local officials from fining or penalizing anyone for not wearing a mask when the state reopened. After cases began to escalate, Abbott said last week that cities and counties could allow businesses to require masks. So did Ducey of Arizona, who is a Republican, just like Abbott.
Some business owners are frustrated that officials did not do more, and earlier, to demand masks.
“I can’t risk my staff, my clientele, myself, my family, and everyone else in that chain just because other people are too uncomfortable to wear a face cloth,” said Michael Neff, owner of the Cottonmouth Club. In Houston, he closed it this week so that employees could get tested after one had contact with an infected person.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, a Democrat, ordered people to wear masks in public as the daily count of hospitalizations and new cases hovered around records. In Florida, several counties and cities recently enacted mask requirements.
In a sign of the change in the outbreak, New York, Connecticut and New Jersey announced that they will ask visitors from states with high infection rates to be quarantined for 14 days. In March, Florida issued such an order to visitors to the New York City area, where cases skyrocketed.
The US Department of Justice. USA She pointed to Hawaii’s quarantine requirement for visitors, saying it discriminates against out-of-state residents. Hawaii’s attorney general’s office says there is no merit to the government’s arguments and a related lawsuit by out-of-state property owners.
Cases are also emerging in some other parts of the world. India reported a record one-day increase of nearly 16,000 cases. Mexico and Iraq also reached new highs.
But China appears to have tamed a new outbreak in Beijing, again demonstrating its ability to mobilize vast resources by evaluating nearly 2.5 million people in 11 days. China, where the virus emerged last year, reported 19 new cases across the country on Thursday. Although from the previous day, there were no signs of a greater geographical distribution.
Worldwide, more than 9.4 million people have been confirmed infected, and nearly 500,000 have died, according to the Johns Hopkins count.
Associated Press reporters from around the world contributed.
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