Healthcare professionals are waiting for patients on July 8, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Florida, at the COVID-19 transit test site at the Duke Energy for the Arts Mahaffey Theater.
The United States continues to report record-breaking new coronavirus cases as outbreaks in southern and western states increase.
The country reported a record 66,627 new cases on Friday, the second day in a row having exceeded 60,000 new cases. The increase in cases is due in part to advanced tests that reveal more infections. Many states that have been reopened after an infection break have since experienced a significant resurgence of the virus.
Florida, a major epicenter of the US outbreak, reported 10,383 new cases on Saturday morning after registering more than 11,000 cases the previous day, the State Department of Health. A total of 19 states reported record values for new cases on Friday.
Although the number of cases has more than doubled since mid-May, the daily death toll from Covid-19 in the United States has decreased or remained stable for weeks. However, the daily death toll seems to be increasing again. In Arizona, California, Florida and Texas – hotspots for the virus – average daily fatalities have reached record levels in recent days.
Epidemiologists in Florida and Texas expect the number of deaths to continue to increase for at least a few weeks.
In Texas, where new deaths and hospitalizations continued to occur throughout the week, Governor Greg Abbott warned of a second ban if people continue to disregard the nationwide mask mandate and cases continue to increase.
"The worst is yet to come as we work our way through this massive increase in people who test positive," Abbott said in a local television interview.
In Georgia, where the number of cases increased by more than 4,000 on Friday, Atlanta officials are returning to the Phase 1 guidelines, which require residents to stay home pending major excursions.
"Georgia has been recklessly reopened, and people in our city and state are suffering," Keisha Lance Bottoms, Mayor of Atlanta, said Friday.
The leadership of the Mayor of Atlanta clashes directly with Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who has pushed for an aggressive reopening and dismissed mask mandates as "unenforceable."
At least 134,130 people in the U.S. have died since the March outbreak began, and, according to Johns Hopkins University, more than 3 million cases have been reported nationwide.