Coronavirus infections in the United States have exceeded 2.5 million, with a record number of cases reported in the states of Florida and Texas.
The spike in cases in the southern states comes after companies have been allowed to reopen in recent weeks.
Florida reported more than 9,500 new cases on Saturday, up from nearly 9,000 on Friday, the previous record.
The spike led state officials to tighten restrictions on businesses – as Texas also did on Friday.
The US government’s chief advisor on coronaviruses, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said last week that the country had a “serious problem”.
More than 125,000 Covid-19 patients have died across the country – more than in any other country.
Speaking at the White House Coronavirus Task Force’s first briefing in two months, Dr. Fauci said Friday that the current increases are due to the regions “maybe opening a little too early” and the people they – even those who did not follow the instructions.
“People infect other people, and eventually you will infect someone who is vulnerable,” he said.
What’s going on in Florida and Texas?
On Saturday morning, the state reported 9,585 coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours. It has set new case records almost daily since mid-June.
To date, the total number of cases in Florida has exceeded 132,000. More than 3,300 people with Covid-19 have died.
Many other southern and western states have reported record peaks when they reopen, and people from other regions have flocked in recent weeks.
Last week, Texas, Florida and Arizona suspended plans to reopen to fight the epidemic.
But on Friday, Florida governor Ron DeSantis imposed new restrictions, ordering state bars to stop serving alcohol on their premises – although it is unclear how the new measures will affect restaurants, reported the Miami Herald.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez told the BBC on Saturday that “the numbers are so high” that they are putting enormous pressure on the city’s health care system.
“Right now, we are penalizing those who do not wear masks,” said Suarez, adding that he was potentially considering implementing new measures: “We may have to, at some point, put in place is implementing an order to stay at home ”.
And in Texas, which also recorded a record number of cases this week, Governor Greg Abbott asked bars to close and limit restaurant seating to 50%.
In the Texas town of Galena Park, east of Houston, the mayor imposed a night curfew on Saturday and warned that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed.
What is the overall situation in the United States?
Johns Hopkins University said on Saturday that the total number of cases in the country has risen to 2,505,593.
If part of the increase is due to further testing, the rate of positive tests in some areas also increases.
Health authorities estimate that the actual number of cases is probably 10 times higher than the total confirmed. The American Center for Disease Control (CDC) has said that up to 20 million Americans may have been infected.
The increase in the number of cases was caused by young people – those between the ages of 18 and 34 – who tested positive, especially in the southern and western United States, said CDC chief Le Dr. Robert Redfield.
The White House said the situation is stabilizing in most of the country.
During the coronavirus briefing on Friday, Vice President Mike Pence praised “the truly remarkable progress of the Trump administration to move our country forward,” noting improved employment and retail sales figures.