states United

United States Consulate in Chengdu no longer belongs to the US – CNN

United States Consulate in Chengdu no longer belongs to the US – YouTube

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Record states

Six US states see record surges in COVID-19 cases, Florida becomes epicenter – New York Post

July 10, 2020 | 8:04pm | Updated July 10, 2020 | 9:58pm

Six U.S. states suffered record spikes in new COVID-19 cases on Friday and Florida, an epicenter of the pandemic, saw infections rise sharply for the second day in a row as the Walt Disney Co. stuck to its plans to reopen its flagship theme park in Orlando.

The surges in Georgia, Louisiana, Montana, Ohio, Utah and Wisconsin put the United States on a pace to once again set a single-day record for new coronavirus cases as Walt Disney World became the latest flash point in a national debate over access to public spaces.

The Walt Disney Co. said the theme parks in Orlando would open on Saturday to a limited number of guests, requiring all visitors and employees to undergo temperature checks and wear face masks and cancelling parades, firework displays and other crow-drawing events.

Disney’s chief medical officer said this week that she believed the broad set of safeguards the company developed with health experts would allow guests to visit the park safely.

Roughly 19,000 people, including some theme park workers, have signed a petition asking Disney to delay the reopening. The union representing 750 Walt Disney World performers has filed a grievance against the company, alleging retaliation against members over a union demand that they be tested for COVID-19.

A Disney spokeswoman said Disney World would reopen without the performers after Actors Equity union representatives had not been available for further talks. Seven other unions reached agreements with Disney on returning to work.

Other theme parks opened in Orlando in June, including Comcast Corp’s Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc’s SeaWorld.

Florida recorded 11,433 new coronavirus cases on Friday, the state health department said, just short of the state’s record high and more evidence that it was at the center of the U.S. pandemic.

Florida does not disclose the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients but earlier this week more than four dozen Florida hospitals 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. Its positive test rate, at 19% earlier this week, is one of the highest in the country.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, a Republican, angered some residents and medical experts by calling the spike a “blip.”

On Friday, DeSantis said that 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.”

Scott Burkee, a 43-year-old former Disney employee from Davenport, Florida, said DeSantis “has shown zero effort to control the spread, he only becomes concerned when Trump does. The virus is clearly out of control.”

Trump, a Republican, traveled to Florida on Friday for an event at the U.S. military’s Southern Command and a campaign fundraiser.

The president has sparred with state and local officials and teachers unions over the reopening of schools and said on Friday the Treasury Department would re-examine the tax-exempt status and funding of those that remain closed.

Trump previously vowed to cut federal funding to the schools and eject foreign students attending universities in the United States unless their schools offer in-person classes, although most education funds come from state and local coffers.

The United States has the world’s highest known numbers of both COVID-19 cases and deaths. The number of confirmed U.S. infections is over 3 million, according to a Reuters tally, stoking fears that hospitals will be overwhelmed.

More than 133,000 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.

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Severe states

States with severe coronavirus outbreaks should ‘seriously look at shutting down,’ Dr. Fauci says – CNBC

Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testifies during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 30, 2020.

Kevin Dietsch | Reuters

States with rapidly expanding coronavirus outbreaks should seriously consider “shutting down” like the country did when the virus first hit the U.S. in March, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said.

His comments Wednesday come as the U.S. continues to push records for new cases reported each day, driven primarily by states in the South and West, across the so-called Sun Belt.

“What we are seeing is exponential growth. It went from an average of about 20,000 to 40,000 and 50,000. That’s doubling. If you continue doubling, two times 50 is 100,” Fauci said on a Wall Street Journal podcast. “Any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It’s not for me to say because each state is different.”

On Thursday, however, Fauci said states should not necessarily think about it as a complete shutdown, according to the Hill, but rather that states should update their restrictions, tailoring them to what is currently known about the virus. 

“Rather than think in terms of reverting back down to a complete shutdown, I would think we need to get the states pausing in their opening process, looking at what did not work well and try to mitigate that,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Hill’s Editor-at-Large Steve Clemons. “I don’t think we need to go back to an extreme of shutting down.”

Earlier this week, the U.S. reported a record single-day spike of 60,021 confirmed cases. Arizona, California, Florida and Texas have accounted for nearly half of all new cases in the U.S. in recent days.

The country has reported about 52,444 new cases per day on average over the past seven days, up 20.3% compared with a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data collected by Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average has a hit a record high every day for the past two weeks, according to CNBC’s analysis.

Despite a major surge in Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has previously said the state will not order businesses to close again. Though local officials in particularly hard-hit counties and cities might take matters into their own hands.

“We’re not going back, closing things. I don’t think that that’s really what’s driving it, people going to a business is not what’s driving it,” DeSantis said on June 30. “I think when you see the younger folks, I think a lot of it is more just social interactions, so that’s natural.”

The surge in cases across much of the U.S. has been driven by some states that reopened too early, said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He added that people who failed to practice public health guidance even if their state officials tried to encourage it have also driven the spread of the virus. 

Florida, for its part, was among the first states to reopen, with DeSantis allowing most restaurants and stores to open with modifications on May 4.

“Among the states, and there’s admission from within, some states went too fast, some states went according to what the timetable was, but the people in the state didn’t listen and just threw caution to the wind,” he said. “Some states, it gets frustrating, because, not to name any states, but some states admittedly opened up too early and too quickly, so that was something that probably should not have happened that led to this.”

Even as new cases have skyrocketed, the average age of an infected person has fallen in many states. That’s significant because younger and otherwise healthy people are less likely to become severely sick or die from Covid-19. However, Fauci said the more young people who are infected, the more likely they will pass the virus on to a vulnerable person who’s older or has an underlying condition that places them at greater risk of dying.

“To say that it’s benign is not true, because we’re already seeing the hospitalizations going up in these states,” he said. “We’re seeing the intensive care beds are now almost being fully occupied, so this is not inconsequential what’s going on. It’s having an impact.”

The seven-day average of hospitalizations rose by at least 5% in 25 states on Wednesday, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project, an independent volunteer organization launched by journalists at The Atlantic.

To get the outbreak under control, Fauci urged Americans to follow public health guidance and to take the threat of the virus seriously. He added that U.S. officials ought to better coordinate their messaging to more effectively reach the American people.

“Obviously, you’d like to see a consistent message all along that people understand,” he said. “But for better or worse, unfortunately, that’s not exactly what’s going on.”

— CNBC’s Nate Rattner contributed to this report.

Correction: States with rapidly expanding coronavirus outbreaks should seriously consider “shutting down,” White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday. An earlier version misstated the day.

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reporting states

Only two US states are reporting a decline in new coronavirus cases – CNN

(CNN)Only two US states are reporting a decline in new coronavirus cases compared to last week — Connecticut and Rhode Island.

A rise was reported in a staggering 36 states, including Florida, which some experts have cautioned could be the next epicenter for infections.
Florida reported 9,585 new coronavirus cases Saturday, a single-day record since the start of the pandemic. The number rivals that of New York’s peak in daily cases in early April.
While Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state’s surge in cases in the past week was the result of a “test dump,” officials there and across the US have also warned of an increase in cases among younger groups.
That’s all as the US broke another record, reporting the highest number of new cases in a single day Friday with at least 40,173 new infections.
The daunting numbers could be the tip of the iceberg: A survey by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the total number of coronavirus infections across the US could actually be six to 24 times greater than reported.
As cases spike, US travelers are “unlikely” to be allowed into the European Union as the bloc begins opening up to international travel, several EU diplomats told CNN.
Officials in parts of the US are now trying to reel in the spread of the virus — which many experts have said is spiraling out of control — by making pleas to the country’s young population to keep their distance, urging the use of face masks and halting their reopening plans.
The US has now hit more than 2.5 million infections and at least 125,539 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Where new cases are on the rise

The 36 states reporting a rise in cases are: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Cases are tracking steady in Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Hampshire New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota and Virginia.

States hit pause on reopening

At least 12 states halted or rolled back their reopening plans in hopes of curbing the spread of the virus.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Saturday he’s hitting the pause button on the state’s reopening plan due to rising cases. Some counties were preparing to enter the fourth phase of reopening, “which would essentially mean no restrictions,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
“Phase 4 would mean a return to normal activity, and we can’t do that now,” the statement said. “This is an evolving situation and we will continue to make decisions based on the data.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott also announced last week he’d pause any further phases to reopen the state.
“I ask all Texans to do their part to slow the spread of Covid-19 by wearing a mask, washing their hands regularly, and socially distancing from others. The more that we all follow these guidelines, the safer our state will be and the more we can open up Texas for business.”
A day later, Abbott also said he was closing bars and limiting restaurant capacity.
Arizona’s governor has also announced that the state’s reopening is on pause as a result of a major spike in cases.
“We expect that our numbers will be worse next week and the week following,” Gov. Doug Ducey said.

Pleas to young groups

In recent days, officials across the US have reported a rise in cases among younger groups. In Mississippi, officials pointed to fraternity parties as one of the drivers behind the state’s cases.
“There is a sense that a lot of young people, well you’re young so you feel a little bit more invincible but, respectfully, often that can be a selfish mindset,” Newsom said.
In Florida, Gov. DeSantis said while the median age for those infected with the virus in March was in the 60s, in the past two to three weeks it’s dropped to people in their early 30s.
The governor urged younger groups to be vigilant, saying while they may not be at risk for serious complications, they can pass the virus on to someone who is. The state’s community transmission, he said, is “being driven by that 18 to 35-year-old group.”
“You have a responsibility to be careful if you’re in contact with somebody who is more vulnerable,” he said. “We’ve been stressing avoiding the three Cs which are: closed spaces with poor ventilation, crowded places with many people nearby and close-contact settings, such as close-range conversations.”
In addition to potentially spreading the virus to older people and those with compromised immune systems, family physician Dr. Jen Caudle said, young people face their own risks and it’s important they not consider it “a walk in the park.” She’s had young patients suffer strokes, and others who’ve experienced shortness of breath, fatigue or loss of smell and taste long after their recovery, she said.
“Just because young people tend to fare better doesn’t mean that they always do,” she said. “It’s really important that we wear our masks, that we social distance. Especially in places where Covid is increasing, it’s honestly best to stay home.”

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states trigger

Here are the 8 states that trigger coronavirus quarantines for travelers going to New York – CNBC

As coronavirus outbreaks surge in several states across the country, public officials in the New York tri-state region — once the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak — are now imposing a 14-day quarantine on travelers coming from several hot spots in the U.S. 

The virus hit the tri-state region hard in March and April, when New York state was reporting around 10,000 new cases every day. At the peak of the outbreak in the northeast, Florida, Texas and other states issued mandatory quarantine orders for anyone traveling from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut in an attempt to prevent outbreaks in their states.

But after suffering through a severe economic shutdown and ramping up testing and contact tracing to isolate new outbreaks, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have driven down new cases to a few hundred per day. As new cases have dropped in the Northeast, the virus has spread across new communities mostly across the American South and West, sparking fresh outbreaks that appear to be picking up speed.

“We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “We don’t want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region and they can literally bring the infection with them.”

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said they have issued the mandatory quarantine orders for these eight states specifically because they have an average of more than 10 positive tests per 100,000 residents over the past seven days or because an average of more than 10% of all tests have come back positive over the past seven days. 

New York, New Jersey and Connecticut will continue to update the list of states the order affects on their respective websites, Cuomo’s office said. 

Here’s a look at how the coronavirus outbreaks are evolving in the eight states currently subject to the tri-state region’s travel order.


Alabama Public Health reported 954 new cases on Wednesday alone, about 19.5 new cases per 100,000 residents, marking the state’s third highest single-day increase in cases. The state has averaged more than 597 new cases per day over the past seven days, down more than 23% compared with the 7-day average a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

As of Wednesday, the state confirmed 31,624 coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 644 cases per 100,000 residents, based on Covid-19 data from the state and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The virus has killed at least 879 people in Alabama and put 2,567 people across the state in the hospital  so far. 

While testing has increased across Alabama, the percent of tests coming back positive has risen to 10.9% between June 14 and June 20, according to the most recent data reported by the state. That figure has drifted up from 8.2% reported in the beginning of May.

Alabama was among the states to ease restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus comparatively early. Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican, allowed the statewide stay-at-home order to expire on April 30, allowing retail stores to reopen with restrictions. Restaurants, salons and gyms were allowed to reopen with new safety rules on May 11 and entertainment venues were allowed to reopen on May 22. 

“Threat of COVID-19 is not over,” the governor said when in announcing he would allow the stay-at-home order to expire. “We are still seeing the virus spread and all of our people are susceptible to the infection.”


The Arkansas Department of Health reported 709 new cases since Tuesday, about 23.5 new cases per 100,00 residents. The state has averaged more than 498 new cases per day over the past seven days, up just 12.1% compared with the 7-day average a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The state has reported a total of 17,375 confirmed coronavirus cases across the state, more than 575 cases per 100,000 residents, based on Covid-19 data from the state and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The virus has killed at least 237 people across the state and hospitalized 1,214 people since it took hold in Arkansas.

The percent of total tests coming back positive stands at 6%, according to the state, which is just above the World Health Organization’s recommended threshold of less than 5% before moving further into reopening.

Arkansas is among the few states that never issued a statewide stay-at-home order. However, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, did order some businesses, including bars, restaurants and gyms to close. Hutchinson allowed gyms and indoor athletic facilities to reopen with modifications on May 4, followed by restaurants on May 11.

Hutchinson previously said he opposes requiring people to wear masks, but amid the surge in cases, some local and city officials have moved to mandate masks when in contact with others. 


The Arizona Department of Health Services reported 1,795 new cases Wednesday, about 24.6 new cases per 100,000 residents. The state has averaged more than 2,741 new cases per day over the past seven days, up more than 76% compared with the 7-day average a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The state has reported 59,974 confirmed cases since the outbreak started, or more than 823 confirmed cases per 100,000 residents across the state, based on Covid-19 data from the state and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The virus has now killed at least 1,463 people in Arizona, according to the state’s data. 

The number of people in hospitals across the state jumped Wednesday to a record high of 6,705. Statewide, 86% of hospital beds are now in use and 88% of all ICU beds are occupied, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services. 

Republican Gov. Doug Ducey has been hesitant to implement new restrictions or to rollback the reopening of businesses in order to curb the spread of the virus. It wasn’t until last week and under pressure from officials in some of the state’s largest cities that Ducey adjusted the statewide mask policy to allow local officials to require that residents wear masks in public and in businesses.

In making the announcement, the governor also acknowledged that the virus is spreading more quickly than is acceptable. He had previously said that officials expected cases to rise after the state eased restrictions and reopened businesses on May 15.

“We want to slow and contain the spread,” he said one week ago. “We have successfully slowed the spread of Covid-19 in the past. We’re going to successfully slow Covid-19 again.”


The Florida Department of Health reported 5,508 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, shattering the previous record single-day increase of 4,049 new cases reported on Saturday. Wednesday’s jump represents about 25.6 new cases per 100,000 residents. 

The state has averaged 3,342 new cases per day over the past seven days, up more than 65% compared with the 7-day average a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The latest spike brings the state total to 109,014 confirmed cases over the course of the outbreak, or more than 507 cases per 100,000 residents, based on Covid-19 data from the state and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The virus has killed at least 3,281 people in Florida, according to the state’s data.

In addition to rising cases, the percentage of tests coming back positive is also on the rise, indicating that the surge in confirmed cases is not due solely to ramped-up testing. The state reported that 15.9% of all tests came back positive Wednesday, up from 10.8% on Tuesday. 

While new cases continue to increase across Florida, the average age of an infected person has continued to decline. On Wednesday, the state reported that the average age of patients was 33 years old, down from over 65 years old in March. 

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis has pointed to the decreasing average age of patients as evidence that the state is effectively protecting its most vulnerable residents. Younger people are less likely to become severely sick and die from Covid-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, White House coronavirus advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci warned Tuesday that scientists are seeing “more and more” complications with Covid-19 in young people.

Florida was among the first states to reopen, with DeSantis allowing most restaurants and stores to open with limited capacity on May 4. The heavily populated Miami-Dade and Broward counties did not reopen until May 18. On June 5, most of the state moved deeper into reopening, allowing more stores to operate, some at full capacity. Gyms also reopened. 

Last week, after the state reported a previous record single-day increase in infections, DeSantis said the state would not reimplement more restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

“We’re not shutting down. We’re going to go forward … We’re not rolling back,” the governor said at a news briefing last week. “You have to have society function.”

North Carolina

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 1,721 new cases Wednesday, nearly 16.4 new cases per 100,000 residents. The state has averaged more than 1,247 new cases per day over the past seven days, up just 0.6% compared with the 7-day average a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The state has reported a total of 56,174 cases, more than 535 cases per 100,000 residents, based on Covid-19 data from the state and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The virus has now killed at least 1,271 people in North Carolina, according to the state’s data.

As cases have risen, so have hospitalizations. The state says 906 people are currently hospitalized across the North Carolina due to Covid-19, up from 650 on June 1. 

Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, left the stay-at-home order in place until May 22, but began amending it earlier to ease restrictions while he also allowed more businesses to reopen. Stores were allowed to reopen with some modifications on May 8, and other businesses, including restaurants, were allowed to reopen when the stay-at-home order expired on May 22. 

In lieu of a statewide mandate, some local and city officials around the state have begun to require that residents wear masks when in contact with others. 

South Carolina

South Carolina reported 890 new cases across the state on Tuesday, the most recent data available, about 17.3 new cases per 100,000 residents. The state has averaged more than 940 new cases per day over the past seven days, up over 38% compared with the 7-day average a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The state has reported 26,613 total coronavirus cases, or about 517 cases per 100,000 residents in the state, according to Covid-19 data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The state has ramped up the number of diagnostic tests it’s conducting, but the percent of tests coming back positive remains high, 17.4% as of Tuesday, according to the state. That indicates that the surge in new cases is not solely driven by increased testing and that the virus is spreading widely.

Last week, as cases were steadily ticking upward, state epidemiologist Dr. Linda Bell pleaded with the public to practice social distancing and wear masks.

“There is no vaccine for COVID-19. There are only individual behaviors and actions we must all maintain that help stop its spread,” she said. “This virus does not spread on its own. It’s spread around our state by infected people who carry it wherever they go – their work, the supermarket, the post office, a friend’s house.”

Republican Gov. Henry McMaster was among the last to implement a stay-at-home order and one of the first to end it on May 4. But he began to allow some businesses to reopen with restrictions even earlier, on April 20. 


The Utah Department of Health reported 364 new cases on Monday, according to the most recent data available, which is about 11.35 new cases per 100,000 residents. The state has averaged more than 480 new cases per day over the past seven days, up more than 41% compared to the 7-day average a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The state has reported 18,300 total confirmed cases of the cornavirus, about 570 confirmed infections per 100,000 residents, according to Covid-19 data from the state and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. At least 163 people have died due to Covid-19 in Utah as of Monday, according to the state.

The virus is spreading most rapidly in southeastern San Juan County, according to the state’s data. 

Utah was one of the few states that never issued a statewide stay-at-home order. However, on March 17, Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, ordered restaurants and bars to pause dine-in service. He later ordered other businesses, including gyms and hair salons, to close as well.


The Texas Department of Health and Human Services reported a record spike of 5,551 new cases on Wednesday, about 19.1 new cases per 100,000 residents. The state has averaged more than 4,194 new cases per day over the past seven days, a jump of 91% compared to the 7-day average a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Texas has reported a total of 120,370 cases, roughly 415 cases per 100,000 residents, according to Covid-19 data from the Texas Department of Health and Human Services and population data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The virus has killed at least 2,249 people in Texas, according to the state’s data.

Hospitalizations in Texas are on the rise, too, with the state reporting that 4,389 Covid-19 patients are currently in hospitals statewide. That’s up from 2,518 a week ago, according to state data.

In an interview Tuesday with TV station KBTX in San Antonio, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott urged residents to wear a mask and practice social distancing to prevent infection. 

“The hospitalization rate is at an all-time high. Coronavirus is spreading in Brazos County and across the entire state of Texas, which is exactly why action is being taken,” he said. “The safest place for you is at your home.”

Texas was another state among the first to reopen. Abbott allowed the stay-at-home order to end on April 30 and by May 1, all stores, restaurants, movie theaters and malls were allowed to reopen with modifications.

— Graphics by CNBC’s Nate Rattner.

Update: This story was updated to reflect that Cuomo’s office later revised its list of affected states, removing Washington state. “There was a temporary discrepancy with Washington State’s reporting, however, they have since corrected it and we have removed them from the list of states under travel advisory,” Caitlin Girouard, Cuomo’s press secretary, told CNBC.

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Coronavirus states

Half of US states see coronavirus spike as officials warn first wave far from over – The Guardian

More than half of all US states have reported a rise in new coronavirus cases, with some breaking daily records. Amid fears of a second wave of Covid-19 infections and deaths, public health officials…
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states Where

Here Are All The States Where Coronavirus Cases Are Spiking – Forbes


Some states are seeing a dramatic surge in new coronavirus infections even as reopening measures continue across the country, raising tough questions about whether those reopening efforts were premature and how officials will balance maintaining public safety with preventing more economic damage.  

Miami-Dade Beaches Reopen After Being Closed For Coronavirus Pandemic

Beachgoers take advantage of the opening of South Beach on June 10, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Getty Images


Texas and Florida—two of the first states to reopen—both hit new daily highs last week. 

California also hit a record daily high last week, though one official attributed the spike to increased testing (Florida’s governor has also attributed his state’s spike to more testing).

Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah and Alaska have also seen surging case numbers over the last week. 

On Friday, the CDC released new forecasts that singled out six states—Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont—where the coronavirus death toll is likely to rise over the next month. 

Some states and cities have walked back reopening measures in response to surging cases: Oregon’s governor put the reopening process on pause on Friday after the state saw its highest level of new cases since the start of the pandemic; Utah’s governor issued a similar order, as did the mayor of Nashville, Tennessee. 

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins, more than 2 million Americans have contracted Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, since the beginning of the pandemic, and more than 114,000 have died. 

Key background

Even though news of states hitting record levels of coronavirus cases day after day might make it seem like the U.S. is headed for a second wave of the virus, the country is still situated very firmly within the “first wave.” New infections peaked around 36,000 cases a day in April, according to New York Times data, and over the last month the number of new daily cases has held relatively steady around 20,000. Cases in former hot spots like New York and New Jersey have fallen dramatically while cases in many areas of the South and West continue to rise. For a true “second wave” of the virus to be possible, the virus would need to subside and then reappear. 

Crucial quote

“We really never quite finished the first wave,” Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor of global health at Harvard University, told NPR. “And it doesn’t look like we are going to anytime soon.”

Further reading

Some Austin Restaurants Shut Down Again After Staffers Catch Coronavirus (Forbes)

Florida Breaks Record For New Coronavirus Cases (Forbes)

Texas Shatters Record For New Coronavirus Cases (Forbes)

Dallas County Reporting New Highs In Coronavirus Cases And Deaths, Report Says (Forbes)

Full coverage and live updates on the Coronavirus

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California states

California and 27 other states don’t count probable coronavirus cases, despite CDC guidelines – KTLA Los Angeles

At least 28 states are not following US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines on reporting new Covid-19 cases –half of which saw the trend of new cases increasing in the last week.

Those states are not reporting probable cases, according to the daily case count listed on the CDC’s website. Probable cases include those that show evidence of an infection without the confirmation of a lab test and cases where coronavirus was listed as a cause or contributing cause of death but are not confirmed with a lab test.

Some of the states with the largest populations — like California, Florida, New York and Texas — are among those listed as not reporting probable cases, despite CDC guidance that they should be included in the case count.

This comes as 26 states see an increased or steady rate of new cases. Accurate rates of new cases are among the metrics that help officials track how the disease is spreading in the US and make decisions about how to reopen and loosen restrictions put in place to mitigate its impact.

More than 1.9 million Americans have been infected, and more than 111,000 have died in just over four months, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Though coronavirus reporting guidelines are voluntary, states not reporting probable cases likely undercount the number of people infected and make it difficult for officials to get the true picture of where the nation stands in the midst of a pandemic that has rocked almost every aspect of life.

How will students go back to school?

Schools have been especially upended, with students across the country not having been on campus in months.

While many local governments have expressed that the path forward for the fall is unclear, North Carolina and California have released guidelines for reopening schools.

Though California’s 1,000 school districts will make theirown decision about how and when to resume in-classroom learning, the state’s Department of Education released a 62-page guidebook Monday to help them plan ahead of time.

The guide gives options for staggered schedules, ongoing distance learning, and models that combine both. It also directs educators to teach proper handwashing and limits the number of students allowed on buses to prevent the virus from breaking out in schools.

“This guidance is only as good as what’s implemented,” State Superintendent Tony Thurmond said in a news conference. “We expect it will be adjusted as we go.”

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper also released health guidance for reopening schools Monday, telling reporters that this school year will be unlike any other.

“Students and staff will be screened for illness before they enter the school. Children will be asked to stay distant from classmates. They won’t be sharing pencils or textbooks, and there will be a lot of cleaning,” he said.

Openings will depend on health metrics, he said. But state Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen is concerned the state’s positive tests are among the highest in the nation, she said Monday.

“These trends moving in the wrong direction is a signal we need to take very seriously,” Cohen said during a news conference.

California takes steps back toward normal

While North Carolina is seeing cases rise, California — with trends holding steady — is beginning to reopen some recreational sites.

Yosemite National Park, which has been off-limits to visitors since March 20, will reopen to the public Thursday. It will aim to admit only half of its average visitor rate, beginning by allowing 1,700 vehicle passes each day, according a statement from park spokesman Jamie Richards.

“There is no place like Yosemite, and we can’t wait to welcome visitors back,” said Acting Superintendent Cicely Muldoon. “It’s going to be a different kind of summer, and we will continue to work hand in hand with our gateway communities to protect community health and restore access to Yosemite National Park.”

As early as Friday, indoor California movie theaters may reopen, according to guidance the California Department of Public Health released on Monday.

Theaters are required to limit attendees to 25% of capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.

Theaters will also need to reconfigure seats to ensure physical distancing between moviegoers, who must wear face coverings when not eating or drinking to mitigate virus spread, the guidance says.

Concerns rise in new states

As many of the hardest hit states begin to recover from the pandemic, cases have risen elsewhere.

Vermont, where new cases are increasing, had an outbreak reported Friday with at least 62 people infected near Winooski, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said. Dozens of children were among those infected, and more than 1,000 people in the state went to get tested following the outbreak, Levine said.

Vermont State Epidemiologist Patsy Kelso said the outbreak was spread by friends and relatives, and through contact tracing it appears to be well-contained.

In Utah, state Rep. Suzanne Harrison called a recent spike of cases “very concerning (and) approaching exponential.” The positive test rate doubled from one day to the next to 18.5%, she tweeted over the weekend.

“When you’re away from home, please avoid close contact with others, and wear a mask when other social distancing measures aren’t feasible,” the Utah Department of Health tweeted.

In the last week, Texas and Arizona have seen spikes in cases, with both reporting more than 1,000 new cases in one day.

Several universities have also reported new cases within their athletic programs — including Arkansas State University, Auburn University and Oklahoma State University.

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states Washington

Washington state’s Clark County delays phase 2 reopening after coronavirus outbreak at food processing plant – CBS News

Americans head outdoors for Memorial Day weekend

An outbreak of coronavirus cases at a food processing plant in Washington state has put a temporary halt to Clark County’s plans to enter phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. According to Clark County Public Health, 38 workers at Firestone Pacific Foods in Vancouver have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

The plant was ordered to temporarily shut down last Tuesday, according to CBS News affiliate KOIN. One worker has been hospitalized. Every employee at the facility will be tested for the coronavirus, a process which began Friday, KOIN reports.

The county’s petition to enter phase 2 of reopening will be discussed next week.

So far, 21 counties in Washington have been approved to begin phase 2, CBS News affiliate KIRO reports.

Phase 2 of Governor Jay Inslee’s plan for reopening includes restaurants operating at a maximum of 50% capacity with no more than five people at a table. Hair salons, nail salons and barber shops may also operate at 50% capacity. Outdoor activities involving no more than five people are permitted.

One of the criteria for counties in Washington applying to move to phase 2 was to record an average of fewer than 10 new cases per 100,000 people for a two-week period, according to KIRO. Counties can be moved back to phase 1 or put back on full lockdown should things get worse during phase 2.

Washington has over 19,200 confirmed cases and at least 1,050 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

Food processing plants have emerged as hotspots for the coronavirus outbreak in several states. Nearly 600 workers at a Tyson chicken plant in North Carolina tested positive for COVID-19 after the plant reopened following a deep cleaning.

In Texas, testing at meatpacking plants in the Panhandle was greatly increased, which contributed to a large spike in confirmed cases last week.

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combined states

At least 4 states combined results from two tests, possibly providing a misleading picture of coronavirus spread – CNN

(CNN)At least four states combined data from two different test results, potentially providing a misleading picture of when and where coronavirus spread as the nation eases restrictions.

More than 1.5 million people in the United States have tested positive for coronavirus and over 93,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Virginia, Texas, Georgia, and Vermont have said they’ve been adding two numbers to their totals: viral test results and antibody test results.
Viral tests are taken by nose swab or saliva sample, and look for direct evidence someone currently has Covid-19. By contrast, antibody tests use blood samples to look for biological signals that a person has been exposed to the virus in the past.
Combining the two tests’ results into one total could provide an inaccurate picture of where and when the virus spread.
The combination also could also overstate a state’s ability to test and track active infections — a key consideration as states ease coronavirus restrictions.
Experts have consistently emphasized that for states to reopen safely, adequate testing and tracing is needed.
“You only know how many cases you have if you do a lot of testing,” said Elizabeth Cohen, CNN’s senior medical correspondent. “If you put the two tests together, you fool yourself into thinking you’ve done more testing than you have.”
Texas, Virginia and Vermont have said they’ve recognized the data issue and moved to fix it in the past few days. In Georgia, health officials said they’ve been adding antibody tests to their “total tests” number in line with methodology from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC has not responded to CNN’s request for comment on whether its guidance includes adding antibody tests to total test numbers. On its website, the database provides daily test results without a breakdown of whether they’re viral or antibody.

US testing data ‘kind of screwed up,’ experts say

In a new report Wednesday, infectious disease experts described US coronavirus testing as disorganized and in need of coordination at the national level.
Testing is currently not accurate enough to be used to make most decisions on who should go back to work or to school, the team at the University of Minnesota said.
“It’s a mess out there,” said Mike Osterholm, head of the university’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, which issued the report. “Testing is very, very important, but we’re not doing the right testing.”
The number of tests that have been completed — numbers widely reported by states and by the White House — show only part of the picture, the report reads.
“The data is really kind of screwed up,” Osterholm said. “It’s because the public health system is overwhelmed.”
Just this month, researchers described antibody tests in the United States as having “terrible accuracy” with high rates of false positives.
And in recent days, Georgia and Florida have faced questions about the transparency of their coronavirus data reporting.

States reopening public places at their own pace

As of Wednesday, all 50 states had partially reopened.
States have moved at different paces as governors balance reopening their economies with keeping residents safe. Some states, including Georgia and Texas, rolled out aggressive reopening plans, while others have taken a more measured approach.
Alaska’s and Iowa’s governors said their states are ready to reopen most businesses Friday.
In Alaska, that means all houses of worship, libraries, museums and sporting activities can resume at 8 a.m., Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s office said. Alaska has the fewest cases of all states and has reported single-digit new cases since mid-April.
Alaskans are still encouraged to take precautions, such as distancing and wearing masks in crowds, and visitation to prisons and senior centers will be limited.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds intends to allow movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding venues to reopen Friday, she said. Swimming pools will be allowed to open for laps and lessons as well. Bars can reopen May 28, and school-sponsored activities, such as sports, can resume June 1, she said.
Indiana also plans to move ahead with opening a large swath of its economy Friday, but with restrictions such as limiting social gatherings to 100 people and dining rooms to 50% capacity, and omitting contact games from the list of sports allowed to resume.
New York, California and Pennsylvania are among states allowing local areas reporting declines in new cases to reopen.
More than half of all California counties are moving forward with plans to reopen their economies further despite data showing the state recorded 102 deaths Tuesday, its second-highest number of daily coronavirus fatalities. The last time California reported the highest deaths in one day was 115 on April 21.
Many cities also remain under stay-at-home orders. In Baltimore, gatherings of more than 10 people are still prohibited and retail stores remain closed.
Experts have warned that lifting restrictions prematurely may mean thousands more Americans will die in a second spike in cases.

More deaths could have been prevented, report says

If the US had encouraged people to stay home and had put social distancing policies in place just a week earlier, more than half the number of deaths and infections could possibly have been prevented, according to new research from Columbia University.
Had the US locked the country down two weeks earlier, 84% of deaths and 82% of cases could have been averted, said the research team led by epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman.
“Our findings underscore the importance of early intervention and aggressive response in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic,” they wrote in the report, published online in the pre-print server MedRxiv. The findings have not been reviewed by other experts for accuracy.
The first US case was reported at the end of January. It wasn’t until mid-March that the Trump administration urged Americans to avoid groups and limit travel. That’s also when cities including New York started to close schools. The study used epidemiologic modeling to gauge transmission rates from March 15 to May 3 and determine the impact social distancing could have on the transmission of the disease.
The first days were important, they noted. “During the initial growth of a pandemic, infections increase exponentially. As a consequence, early intervention and fast response are critical,” they wrote.
However, they said, it’s also true that they could not account for how people would have responded.
“Public compliance with social distancing rules may also lag due to sub-optimal awareness of infection risk,” they noted.

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