LUBBOCK, Texas (Reuters) – The United States recorded 45,242 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, the largest increase in the pandemic in a single day, according to a Reuters count, bringing the total number of Americans who tested positive to at least 2.48 million.
The new record for positive testing for COVID-19 comes when several states at the center of a further spike in infections backed down efforts to ease restrictions on companies. COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
Governor Greg Abbott ordered Texas bars to close at noon and demanded that restaurants limit indoor seating capacity to 50%, while Florida state officials told bars to stop serving alcohol in their premises.
Abbot’s announcement surprised Texas bar owners, who said the governor, a Republican in his second term, had paid little attention to them. Mark Martinez, owner of a Lubbock beer garden, found out only when his friends texted him around 8 a.m.
“I spent thousands of dollars on inventory preparing for this weekend. I really could have used that (money) for my rent, which is due next week, ”said Martinez, 44.
“We were getting to where we could pay the bills,” said Tish Keller, owner of Triple J Chophouse and Brew Co. in downtown Lubbock. “Reducing ourselves to 50% of capacity means we won’t have enough business to pay staff, let alone bills.”
Keller said she didn’t know how long it could stay open and was afraid to try to save her business from ruin twice in a year.
CASES ARISE IN FLORIDA
Florida issued its new rules after recording a staggering 8,942 new COVID-19 cases, overshadowing the state’s record of 5,511 reached by the state on June 24.
California Governor Gavin Newsom said Friday that Imperial County, southeast of Los Angeles, has been so overwhelmed by the virus that it was recommending that it issue a new strict order to stay home.
Imperial County health officials later tweeted that their order to stay at home imposed in March remained in effect. The county board of supervisors has scheduled a meeting for Friday night to consider additional actions.
Newsom stopped to allow counties to reopen their economies in response to COVID-19’s increasing hospitalizations.
In Alaska, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz issued an emergency order requiring residents to wear masks in indoor public spaces after the state identified 836 cases through Friday, 387 of them in his city.
Texas had been at the forefront of the states by removing restrictions designed to control the pandemic, allowing the bars to reopen in May.
Since then, it has witnessed some of the biggest spikes in new cases, reporting 5,996 on Thursday. The state has also seen a record number of hospitalizations in the past two weeks.
Nearly 125,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, the highest number of deaths known to highly infectious disease in the world.
Despite grim news from Texas, Florida, and elsewhere, President Donald Trump said Friday that the United States was returning from the crisis, which stopped much of the economy and left millions out of work.
“We have a little work to do and we will do it. We are having very good numbers in terms of the return, the return of our nation, and I think it is going very fast and it will be very good, “he said at an event at the White House.
Vice President Mike Pence said that in Texas and Florida “we are seeing more and more young people, under the age of 35, who are testing positive. In many cases they have no symptoms. ”
They also reported record increases in cases this week in Alabama, Arizona, California, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Wyoming.
Brad Brooks report on Lubbock; Additional reports from Jonathan Allen, Nathan Layne, Peter Szekely in New York; Jane Ross in Los Angeles, Yereth Rosen in Anchorage and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Written by Alistair Bell and Dan Whitcomb; Rosalba O’Brien and Daniel Wallis edition