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Florida, California, Texas Continue Leading Surge in New COVID-19 Cases in the U.S.

July 5, 2020 (EIRNS)—The U.S. national daily total of new COVID-19 cases for Saturday, July 4 (45,283 cases) was down from Friday’s record highs (57,000), but there continues to be an out-of-control situation in Florida, Texas, California, Arizona and other large states. This is measured not only in the number of new cases, but also in the high and rising positivity rates of tests in at least 18 states (meaning that the rise in reported cases is not due to increased testing). The WHO’s criteria set a 5% positivity rate as the maximum level at which businesses can safely reopen. Eleven states averaged double-digit rates over the past seven days—Arizona (26%), Florida (18%), Nevada (16%), South Carolina (15%), Alabama (15%), Texas (14.5%), Mississippi (14%), Georgia (13%), Idaho 11%), Kansas (10%) and Utah (10%). That was up from four states with double-digit rates two weeks ago.

Another worrisome indicator is the soaring hospitalizations in many places, which has brought some hospital systems to the point of overload. Many medical and other authorities, including Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, are reminding people that deaths are a lagging indicator (i.e., they tend to rise only after the numbers for new cases and hospitalizations rise), and therefore can be expected to increase significantly in the next 2-3 weeks. Some specifics:

• Florida hit 11,458 new cases on Saturday, another new record. This is second only to New York state’s one-day record of 11,571 new positive tests in mid-April. The state closed most public beaches over the weekend, but there were plenty of large social gatherings elsewhere, according to authorities. Miami-Dade, Florida’s most populous county, imposed an overnight curfew from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. until further notice and will close some businesses that reopened in June. “This curfew is meant to stop people from venturing out and hanging out with friends in groups, which has shown to be spreading the virus rapidly,” Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said in a statement. Infectious disease specialist Aileen Marty warned July 3 in a CBS interview that Florida was “heading a million miles an hour in the wrong direction.... It’s absolutely the saddest thing, the most unnecessary situation that we’re finding ourselves in. And it’s behaviorally driven.”

• Texas also had record new cases on Saturday with 8,258 new cases, according to its health department, with a 13.1% positivity rate. For a sixth straight day, Texas also registered an all-time high in the number of people hospitalized. On Thursday, July 2, Gov. Greg Abbott ordered people in Texas to wear masks in most public places.

• Arizona this week had a 25% positivity rate on its COVID-19 tests, and health officials reported Friday that 90% of intensive care unit beds were occupied—the highest rate since the beginning of the pandemic.

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