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June 23, 2020, 2:38 p.m. EDT

Coronavirus update: U.S. case tally surging with more than half the states trending up as death toll tops 120,000

Trump’s tweet blaming more tests for more COVID-19 cases dispels claim he was joking in Tusla; Trump to attend rally in Arizona, which had more than 2,000 new cases on Monday

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By Tomi Kilgore, MarketWatch

Getty Images

New coronavirus cases are showing an alarming increase in the U.S., with more than half the states reporting numbers that are trending higher as the death toll topped 120,000, while President Donald Trump doubled down on his logic that the increases are just a result of more testing.

Although some states have acknowledged the dire case data, reopenings of businesses remained on course and Wall Street continued to focus on recent data suggesting the worst of the pandemic’s effects on the economy are in the past.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA -0.43%   was up 248 points, or 1.0%, in afternoon trading Tuesday and the Nasdaq Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598365/realtime COMP +0.25%  climbed 1.4% toward a second-straight record close. See Market Snapshot.

A key test of the states’ efforts to stop the spike in new cases will occur in Phoenix later Tuesday, when Trump attends a “Students for Trump” event. On Saturday, the Phoenix City Council said face coverings will be required for all residents and visitors , 6 years old or older. The order did not exclude people speaking at a public event.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said on Monday that everyone attending the event, particularly any elected official, should set an example by wearing a mask. “That includes the president,” Gallego said, according to an Associated Press report.

Don’t miss : Focus falls to Trump’s rally in Phoenix Tuesday, after low Tusla turnout.

Arizona has seen cases spike higher in recent weeks, with Phoenix’s Maricopa county currently ninth on the list of all U.S. counties, with a case tally of 31,650, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University .

Trump has been playing down the rise in case number, and caused a stir over the weekend at a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when he said he wanted to slow down testing to keep COVID-19 case totals from rising. White House officials said he was obviously joking, but Trump dispelled that defense by tweeting Tuesday morning that “smaller” testing would change the trend.

In a research note on Monday, Raymond James analyst Chris Meekins said that with a number of states seeing a rise in the percentage of tests returning a positive reading, the increases in cases “are definitely NOT a result of more testing.”

Read more : Infectious-disease expert says we’re thinking too much about a second wave of COVID-19 when it’s really more like a forest fire.

Outside of the U.S., the tennis world was shaken after the No. 1 ranked player, Novak Djokovic, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, after he participated in an exhibition series, which he organized, in Serbia and Croatia.

Djokovic had been criticized for organizing the tournament, in which social distancing wasn’t observed.

Latest tallies

The global COVID-19 case tally increased to 9.15 million on Tuesday, while the death toll rose to 473,650, the Johns Hopkins data show . About 4.56 million people have recovered.

The U.S.’s case and death tolls lead the world by a large margin, with COVID-19 cases growing to 2.33 million and the number of deaths rising to 120,771. About 640,000 people have recovered.

There are 28 U.S. states that are showing increasing trends in cases this past week. Of that total, 8 states showed declining trends the previous week and two states were flat. California led the pack in new daily cases with 6,219 on Monday, followed by Texas at 4,846 and Florida at 2,926.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine
California’s COVID-19 cases surge to a fresh peak

Arizona had 2,008 new cases on Monday.

Also read : Surging U.S. coronavirus cases raise fear that progress is slipping away.

Another state seeing a surge in cases is South Carolina, which continues with its phased reopening even as the case tally doubled in nine days to a fresh peak.

Johns Hopkins University of Medicine
South Carolina cases spike as beaches reopen

Outside the U.S., Brazil remained the new global hot spot, with cases climbing to 1.11 million and deaths rising to 51,271.

See related: Brazilian doctors fume as President Bolsonaro gets rap for eating hot dogs while COVID-19 cases are on track to pas U.S.

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