Only two US states are reporting a decline in new coronavirus cases compared to last week — Connecticut and Rhode Island.
A staggering rise was reported in 36 states, including Florida, which some experts have cautioned could be the next epicenter.
Florida reported 9,585 new coronavirus cases Saturday, a single-day record high since the start of the pandemic. The number rivals that of New York’s peak in daily cases in early April.
While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state’s surge in cases in the past week was the result of a “test dump,” officials there and across the US have also warned of an increase in cases among younger groups.
That’s all as the US broke another record, reporting the highest number of new cases in a single day Friday with at least 40,173 new infections.
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But the daunting numbers could just be the tip of the iceberg: A new survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the total number of coronavirus infections across the US could actually be six to 24 times greater than reported.
As cases spike, US travelers are “unlikely” to be allowed into the European Union as the bloc begins opening up to international travel, several EU diplomats told CNN.
Officials in parts of the US are now trying to reel in the spread of the virus — which many experts have said is spiraling out of control — by making pleas to the country’s young population to keep their distance, urging the use of face masks and halting their reopening plans.
The US has now hit more than 2.5 million infections and at least 125,539 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Where new cases are on the rise
The 36 states seeing a rise in cases include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington State, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Cases are trekking steady in Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Virginia.
States hit pause on reopening
At least 12 states halted or rolled back their reopening plans in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus.
Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee announced Saturday he’s hitting the pause button on the state’s reopening plan due to rising cases. Some counties were preparing to enter the fourth phase of reopening, “which would essentially mean no restrictions,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
“Phase 4 would mean a return to normal activity and we can’t do that now,” the statement said. “This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also announced last week he’d pause any further phases to reopen the state.
“I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”
A day later, Abbott also said he was closing bars and limiting restaurant capacity.
Arizona’s governor has also announced the state’s reopening is on pause as a result of a major spike in cases.
“We expect that our numbers will be worse next week and the week following,” the governor said.
Pleas to young groups
In recent days, officials across the US have reported a rise in cases among younger groups. In Mississippi, officials pointed to fraternity parties as one of the drivers behind the state’s cases.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said last week there’s been an increase in younger groups testing positive for the virus.
“There is a sense that a lot of young people, well you’re young so you feel a little bit more invincible but, respectfully, often that can be a selfish mindset,” Newsom said.
In Florida, DeSantis said while the median age for those infected with the virus in March was in the 60s, in the past two to three weeks it’s dropped to people in their early 30s.
The governor urged younger groups to be vigilant, saying while they may not be at risk for serious complications, they can pass the virus on to someone who is. The state’s community transmission, he said, is “being driven by that 18 to 35-year-old group.”
“You have a responsibility to be careful if you’re in contact with somebody who is more vulnerable,” he said. “We’ve been stressing avoiding the three Cs which are: closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with many people nearby and close-contact settings, such as close-range conversations.”