Over the weekend, the virus seemed to be everywhere at once: six staff members who helped organize President Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma tested positive, as did 23 soccer players at the University of Clemson in South Carolina. At least 30 members of the Louisiana State University team isolated themselves after becoming infected or coming in contact with someone who was. Meat packing plants were also affected by outbreaks.
“It is a snowball. We will certainly see more people die as a result of this increase, ”said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO and President of Houston Methodist Hospital, noting that the number of COVID-19 hospital admissions has tripled since Memorial Day to more than 1,400 worldwide. eight hospital systems in the Houston metropolitan area.
He predicted that in three weeks hospitals could be overwhelmed, and pleaded with people to cover their faces and practice social distancing.
“It is possible to open up at a judicious pace and coexist with the virus, but millions and millions of people are required to do the right thing. Right now, we don’t have that “because people have let their guard down, Boom said.
Texas is among a number of states, including Arizona, Alabama, Florida, and South Carolina, whose governors have resisted mask requirements statewide, leaving the matter to local authorities.
The number of newly confirmed coronavirus cases nationwide per day has reached more than 26,000, compared to 21,000 two weeks ago, according to an analysis of data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University of the Associated Press. More than 120,000 deaths in the United States have been attributed to the virus, the highest number of deaths in the world.
In Orlando, 152 cases of coronavirus were linked to a bar near the University of Central Florida campus, said Dr. Raúl Pino, a state health officer in the resort city.
“There was a lot of transmission there,” said Pino. “People are very close. People do not wear masks. People drink, scream, dance, sweat, kiss and hug, everything that happens in bars. And all those things that happen are not good for COVID-19. “
Although he asked health officials to renew calls for people to wear masks and keep their distance, Gov. Ron DeSantis has not signaled that he will withdraw from the reopening of the state after three months of closings that have damaged the economy.
In Louisiana, Governor John Bel Edwards weighed whether to further relax the restrictions amid increased cases. Some companies have closed again due to infections between staff members or customers. And a group of bars near LSU reported that at least 100 customers and employees tested positive.
Countries like Brazil, India and Pakistan are also seeing increasing cases.
Dr. Michael Ryan, chief of emergencies at the World Health Organization, said the outbreak is “definitely accelerating” in the US. USA And in other countries, rejecting the notion that record daily levels of new cases simply reflect more evidence. He noted that numerous countries have seen a marked increase in hospital admissions and deaths.
“The epidemic is peaking or advancing to a peak in several large countries,” he warned.
In the USA The US, Arizona in particular, is seeing troubling trends at various benchmarks, including the percentage of tests that test positive for the virus. Arizona is the highest in the nation.
The state’s positive testing rate is a seven-day average of over 20%, well above the national average of 8.4% and the level of 10% that public health officials say is a problem. When the positive test rate increases, it means that an outbreak is getting worse, not just that more people are being tested.
At Maryland’s Fort Washington Medical Center outside the nation’s capital, workers described a struggle to find new beds, heartbreaking encounters with family members of critically ill patients, and their frustration with Americans who don’t believe the coronavirus threat is real.
“Everyone is resting on the beaches. Just thinking that it’s over. And it is not, “said respiratory therapist Kevin Cole.” It is far from over. And unfortunately, it is those people who will sustain this pandemic. “
Meanwhile, New York City, once the deadliest hot spot in the US In the USA, it lifted more restrictions and moved one step closer to normality. Restaurants can serve diners outdoors, patrons can browse shops and cut their hair, and kids can return to playgrounds.
Eve Gonzalez, a 27-year-old food industry worker in New York whose work has not yet resumed, said it is too early: “I’m dying to leave, but people’s health is more important.”
In Illinois, museums, gyms and zoos can reopen on Friday with restrictions. Indoor dining can be resumed at 25% capacity, and some locations, such as the Lincoln Park Zoo, will require reservations.
According to Johns Hopkins, worldwide, 9 million people have been confirmed infected with the virus and around 470,000 have died, although experts say the actual numbers are much higher due to limited evidence and cases in which patients had no symptoms.
Amid the global surge, the WHO chief warned that world leaders should not politicize the outbreak but come together to fight it.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who has faced criticism from President Donald Trump, said during a video conference for the Dubai-based World Government Summit that it took the world more than three months to see 1 million confirmed infections, but only eight days. to see the most recent 1 million cases.
Tedros did not mention Trump by name or his determination to remove the United States from the UN health agency, but warned: “The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself; it is the lack of global solidarity and global leadership. “He added:” We cannot overcome this pandemic with a divided world. “
Trump has criticized the WHO for its prompt response to the outbreak and for what it considers its excessive praise for China, where the outbreak began, although the handling of the crisis by his own government has been attacked. Trump has threatened to cut US funding for the WHO.
Companies around the world are competing to find a vaccine, and there is intense debate about how to ensure that it is fairly distributed. WHO special envoy at COVID-19, Dr. David Nabarro, said he believes it will be “two and a half years until there are vaccines for everyone in the world.”
Brazil, with more than 50,000 deaths, the second highest number in the world, recorded a record 54,000 new cases of coronavirus in its latest single-day count. And nearly 1 in 3 people tested overall have tested positive, according to WHO’s Ryan, who said the surprisingly high number suggests that cases are either unreported or undetected due to a low test rate.
India’s health system has been affected by the virus. The number of cases in the impoverished country of more than 1.3 billion people increased by almost 15,000 on Monday to more than 425,000, with more than 13,000 deaths.
After facilitating a national blockade, the Indian government in recent weeks ran special trains to return thousands of migrant workers to their home villages.
In Pakistan, infections are accelerating and hospitals have to reject patients, with new cases of up to 6,800 per day. The government has relaxed its coronavirus restrictions, hoping to save an almost collapsed economy in the country of 220 million people.
Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed.