U.S. Sets Record for New COVID Cases Third Day in a Row at Over 69,000

(Reuters) -
A police vehicle is parked next to a barrier blocking a street prior to the 8 p.m. curfew, imposed due to Florida’s climbing numbers of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases, in Miami Beach, Florida, July 18. (Reuters/Liza Feria)

New cases of COVID-19 rose by over 69,000 across the United States on Friday, according to a Reuters tally, setting a record for the third consecutive day.

A total of nine U.S. states – Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin – also reached records for single-day infections.

In Texas, another hot zone, Governor Greg Abbott warned on Friday he may have to impose new clampdowns if the state cannot stem its record-setting caseloads and hospitalizations through masks and social distancing.

“If we don’t adopt this best practice it could lead to a shutdown of business,” the Republican governor told local KLBK news station in Lubbock, adding it was the last thing he wanted.

California announced on Friday the state will release up to 8,000 inmates early from prisons to slow the spread of COVID-19 inside the facilities. At San Quentin State Prison, outside San Francisco, half of the facility’s roughly 3,300 prisoners have tested positive for the virus.

Florida remains one of the worst hotspots for the virus in the nation and is among a handful of states where deaths are rising, based on a Reuters analysis of fatalities in the last two weeks, compared with the prior two weeks.

On Thursday, the state reported a record 120 deaths and added another 92 on Friday. It recorded 11,433 new coronavirus cases on Friday, just short of the state’s record, and nearly 7,000 hospitalizations.

More than four dozen hospitals in Florida have reported their intensive care units were full.

This month, Florida has repeatedly reported more new daily coronavirus cases than any European country had at the height of their outbreaks. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, angered some residents and medical experts by calling the spike a “blip.”

On Friday, DeSantis said the state would receive more than 17,000 vials of the antiviral drug remdesivir from the U.S. government, adding, “That’ll be something that will hopefully help to improve patient outcomes.”

The number of confirmed U.S. infections is over 3 million, according to a Reuters tally, stoking fears that hospitals will be overwhelmed.

Nearly 134,000 Americans have died, a toll that experts warn will likely surge along with the rise in cases.

Overall, coronavirus cases are rising in 44 American states, based on a Reuters analysis of cases for the past two weeks compared with the prior two weeks.