U.S. records 55,000 new coronavirus cases — as COVID-19 surges in Florida, Arizona, California and Texas

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The U.S. recorded 55,000 new cases of coronavirus over the last 24 hours.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which was first identified in Wuhan, China in December, had infected 10,906,822 people globally and 2,732,639 in the U.S. as of Friday. It had claimed at least 522,112 lives worldwide, 128,783 of which were in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

New York has had the most deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S., followed by New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for three decades and one of the leading experts on pandemics in the U.S. for the last four decades, has said Americans and lawmakers need to reconsider some of their actions.

On Thursday, Fauci said the virus may be mutating to become more transmissible. “We don’t have a connection between whether an individual does worse with this or not. It just seems that the virus replicates better and may be more transmissible. But this is still at the stage of trying to confirm that.”

Fauci focused on three main failings by both the public and authorities: Many states have reopened too quickly, people are not abiding by rules of social distancing, and the authorities could do a better job at contact tracing to track people who’ve been in contact with those who test positive.

Florida reported 9,500 new cases Friday after recording 10,000 Thursday, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic began. It confirmed nearly 178,500 cases, which do not account include those who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, and 3,684 deaths from the virus.

Unlike officials in California and Texas, however, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has said the state will not delay its reopening plans, and said the rise is mostly due to young people gathering in bars and restaurants and in outside spaces rather than businesses reopening.

Thus far, New York has had the most deaths from COVID-19 in the U.S. (32,064), followed by New Jersey (15,107), Massachusetts (8,132), Illinois (6,951), Pennsylvania (6,712), Michigan (6,712) and California (6,265). Texas has reported 2,542 deaths from the virus.

The U.S. Surgeon General and the Department of Health and Human Services issued a public-service announcement this week, urging Americans to follow the guidelines of washing their hands frequently, socially distancing and wearing face masks in public spaces.

Florida reported 9,500 new cases after confirming 10,000 Thursday, the highest number of daily cases of the pandemic.

While COVID-19’s progress has slowed in states such as New York, where most cases in the U.S. are still centered, confirmed coronavirus cases have risen in 35 U.S. states, with some of the most populous states such as Florida, Texas and California a key cause for concern.

New cases are up 38% in Florida over the past week, up 32% in Arizona, up 31% in Montana and South Carolina, up 27% in Texas, and up 20% in California over the same period, according to this tally by the Washington Post.

On Thursday, DeSantis met with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the rise in cases in the state, and urged Floridians to wear masks in public and avoid large crowds.

“I want the people of Florida to know we’re in a much better place thanks to the leadership of President Trump, the innovation of American industry and to the partnership that we’ve forged, not just in testing, but in personal protective equipment,” Pence said.

Florida has seen a rise in hospitalizations in recent days and, while most of those were among older people, an 11-year-old boy from Miami-Dade County died from complications from the disease, the youngest person in the state to die from COVID-19 and third child in the state to die from the disease.

DeSantis instructed bars, which are allowed to open to half of their usual capacity, to stop selling alcohol as one concession to the surge in coronavirus cases, but the state does not have restrictions on the number of people who can gather in stores and gyms.

The Dow Jones Industrial Index DJIA, +0.35% and the S&P 500 SPX, +0.45% was up Friday on better-than-expected unemployment numbers, despite the surge in coronavirus cases in some of the country’s most populous states.

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