By Associated Press
Florida reported more than 10,000 new confirmed cases for the first time Thursday. That is six times higher than the daily count of less than a month ago. The state also reported 67 deaths for the second time in a week and 325 new hospitalizations, one of the biggest 24-hour jumps in Florida yet. Georgia likewise saw its biggest single-day increase yet, nearly 3,500 cases.
“I’m discouraged because we didn’t act fast enough to shut things down, and we could have done a much better job getting a handle on the virus,” said Megan Archer, a 39-year-old woman from West Palm Beach, Florida, who lost her job with a county parks department during the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the government reported that U.S. unemployment fell to 11.1% in June as the economy added a solid 4.8 million jobs. But that figure may be outdated: The data was collected during the second week of June, before many states began to backtrack on restarting their economies.
Several Northeastern states have seen new infections slow down significantly, including New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New Jersey, which allowed its Atlantic City casinos to reopen Thursday, though with no smoking, drinking or eating.
Pennsylvania, an outlier among Northeastern states, reported its highest one-day total of new cases since May, with more than 830, more than one-quarter of them in Pittsburgh’s Allegheny County, which will impose a one-week shutdown of bars and restaurants and all gatherings of more than 25 people starting Friday.
Other states, like Colorado, a major summer destination where increases in infections have been less dramatic, are keeping a close eye on their neighbors.
“I’ve been watching that map. ... We’re well aware of what’s going on around us and we’re very anxious,” said Dr. Michelle Barron, medical director of infection prevention and control at UCHealth University of Colorado Hospital. “The next couple of weeks are critical.”
President Donald Trump on Wednesday seemed confident the virus would soon subside, telling Fox Business: “I think that, at some point, that’s going to sort of just disappear, I hope.”
The U.S. has reported at least 2.7 million cases and more than 128,000 dead, the highest toll in the world. Globally there have been 10.7 million confirmed cases and over 517,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins’ count. The true toll is believed to be significantly higher, in part because of limited testing and mild cases that have been missed.
Other countries are also reporting an upswing in cases.
“We have now entered a new and treacherous phase in the life cycle of this pandemic,” South African President Cyril Ramaphosa warned in a broadcast to the nation, which recorded more than 8,100 new infections, a one-day record, and has the biggest caseload on the continent.
India, the world’s second-most populous country with more than 1.3 billion people, has reported nearly 100,000 new cases in the past four days alone.