The United States reported more than 50,000 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, a single-day rise not seen or, perhaps, in the world before as the worst affected states, mostly in the south and west, reinstated restrictions and ordered, as in Texas, mandatory use of face coverings in public places.
New infections had gone up to 52,291 by the end of Thursday, according to the Johns Hopkins University’s Covid-19 tracker, and 635 fatalities have been recorded. Public health officials have warned infections could go as high as 100,000 a day and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has forecast 148,000 deaths by July 25.
The global count of cases, meanwhile, inched closer to 11 million and deaths climbed to 521,874.
The United States is witnessing a second flare-up, mostly affecting southern states — with the exception of California in the west — that had either lifted their restrictions early or were reluctant to enforce them fully, such as Texas, whose governor Gregg Abbott, a Republican, had prevented his mayors and other city officials from making the use of masks mandatory.
Abbott has since recanted, and brought back restrictions, fully. On Thursday, he issued an order making masks mandatory in public place, starting Friday “We have the ability to keep businesses open and move our economy forward so that Texans can continue to earn a paycheck, but it requires each of us to do our part to protect one another — and that means wearing a face covering in public spaces,” Abbott said.
At least eight states reported record single-day highs on Thursday, according to New York Times, which is keeping its own separate score: Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Montana, South Carolina and Tennessee. Other states in the grip of this flare-up include Arizona.
Around a dozen states in the north and the northeast have managed thus far to either flat-line their infections or push them down, but public officials have once again warned they may not be able to withstand the souther surge if the latter was not flattened soon, and the window for that is narrowing.
“What we’ve seen over the last several days is a spike in cases that is way beyond the worst spikes that we’ve seen. That is not good news,” Anthony Fauci, a top US epidemiologist and member of the White House task force on Covid-19, told BBC Thursday. “We’ve got to get that under control, or we risk an even greater outbreak to the United States”
President Donald Trump, meanwhile, is scheduled to leave Friday for Mount Rushmore in South Dakota for July 4 Independence Day celebrations with fireworks.Talking about the firework celebrations, Trump said, “We’re going to have a tremendous evening. It’s going to be a fireworks display like few people have seen. It’s going to be very exciting. It’s going to be beautiful.”
Public health experts worry social distancing norms will not be enforced there, as it has happened at recent public gatherings Trump has attended and addressed. Many members of his campaign staff and the Secret Service were infected at the rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma; and then again at his rally in Phoenix, Arizona. Among those from the second lot of infections was Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate.