US COVID-19 cases top 2.5mn, reopenings paused

Washington: The number of COVID-19 cases in the US has surged to over 2.5 million, as the country witnessed a recent uptick in the number of infections, prompting many states to consider reopening their economies and to impose stricter restrictions to curb the virus spread.

As of Sunday morning, the overall number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stood at 2,510,092, while the death toll increased to 125,539, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The tallies currently account for the world’s highest both in terms of cases and fatalities.

More than 42,000 new cases were reported nationwide as of Saturday, the second day in a row that the daily increase has surged to above 40,000, Xinhua news agency quotedThe Washington Post as saying in a report.

The states of Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Texas and Washington have either rolled back or paused their reopening plans due to a sudden spike in the number of cases.

On Saturday, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee announced the suspension of counties looking to move into the Phase 4 of reopening due to an increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases.

“We all want to get back to doing all the things we love in Washington during the summer, and fully open our economy, but we aren’t there yet,” Inslee said in a statement.

“This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data.”

Washington is taking a phased approach to reopening, allowing some counties to reopen before others.

Phase 4 would resume recreational activities and allow for gatherings of more than 50 people, according to the state’s “Safe Start” plan.

For the third time in the four days, Florida set a new daily record for novel coronavirus cases with more than 9,500 confirmed on Saturday.

The 9,585 new COVID-19 cases brought the state’s total to 132,545, according to figures released by the Florida Department of Health.

The Department of Health Services of Arizona reported 3,591 new cases Saturday morning, pushing the tally in the western state to 70,051.

The new lab-confirmed cases number, which jumped by 5.4 per cent from the previous 24 hours, exposed part of the worrisome landscape that Arizona is facing to contain the pandemic.

Texas also set a record for coronavirus-related hospitalizations for the 16th consecutive day on Saturday, with 5,523 patients currently being treated, reported The Washington Post.

Hospitalizations have risen rapidly since Memorial Day, when there were 1,511 COVID-19 patients in the state’s hospitals.

Meanwhile, New York state, once the epicentre of the pandemic in the US, reported 391,923 cases and 31,362 deaths, both tallies the highest in the state.

But the state’s COVID-19 test positivity rate has dropped to around 1 per cent, the lowest among the country’s big states, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Other states with over 100,000 cases include California, New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts.

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