The US infectious disease leader, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said the country had a “serious problem” when 16 states were in shock in the Covid-19 cases.
At the White House task force’s first briefing in two months, Dr. Fauci said, “The only way we’re going to end it is to finish it together. ”
As health experts said more needs to be done to slow the spread, Vice President Mike Pence lauded the US “progress”.
As of Friday, more than 40,000 new cases were recorded in the United States.
The total of 40,173, given by Johns Hopkins University, was the highest daily total to date, surpassing the record set just the day before.
There are more than 2.4 million confirmed infections and more than 125,000 deaths in the country – more than any other country.
At the briefing on Friday, the White House task force also urged millennials to be tested, even if they are asymptomatic.
Pence said the president had asked the task force to address the American people amid the spike in infections and hospitalizations in the southern and western states.
In Texas, Florida and Arizona, plans to reopen were suspended due to the peak.
While part of the increase in the number of cases registered daily can be attributed to the expansion of tests, the rate of positive tests in some regions is also increasing.
Health officials in the United States estimate that the actual number of cases is probably 10 times higher than the figure shown.
What was said during the White House briefing?
Dr. Deborah Birx, coronavirus response coordinator, thanked the young Americans for following official testing guidelines.
“While before we told them to stay home, we now tell them to take the test. ”
She noted that this “big change” in testing guidelines would allow officials to discover “asymptomatic and benign illnesses that we could not find before”.
After Dr. Birx presented recent data, Dr. Fauci said: “As you can see, we are facing a serious problem in some areas. ”
He added: “So what is happening in one region of the country could ultimately have an impact on other regions.”
Dr Fauci said the current increases are due to everything from regions “maybe opening a little too early”, opening at a reasonable time “but not actually following the steps in an orderly manner”, to citizens themselves not following advice.
“People infect other people, and eventually you will infect someone who is vulnerable,” he said.
“You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a social responsibility because if we want to end this epidemic, really end it … we have to realize that we are part of the process.” ”
Dr Fauci added that if the spread was not stopped, even parts of the country that were doing well would eventually be affected.
The vice president, meanwhile, praised the nation’s progress in dealing with the pandemic, noting “extraordinary progress” in former hotspots like New York and New Jersey.
“We slowed the spread, we flattened the curve, we saved lives,” he said.
Pence also seemed to deny any link between the reopening of states and the increase in the number of cases.
Responding to a question from a reporter, he said that the southern states that reopened did so months ago when new cases and rates were low.
Rather, Pence blamed much of the increase in positive test results for asymptomatic youth, adding that even if they are at lower risk for severe symptoms, they should “take countermeasures” and listen to advice from state governors.
Analysis by Tara McKelvey, White House correspondent
It has been a difficult week for the White House.
The number of cases has exploded in states where governors have tried to reinforce President Trump’s message that the nation is returning to normal.
The outbreak has alarmed many, and Vice President Pence expressed condolences to those who have lost loved ones. He then praised the Trump administration’s “truly remarkable progress” in the fight against the disease.
Critics have found its positive turn on the situation shocking, given the terrible news.
Pence has had a tough job from the start, supporting Mr. Trump’s controversial positions.
The vice president’s performance on Friday was particularly difficult – and, for many, unconvincing -.
What’s going on in the most affected states?
The American federal system of government leaves states free to maintain their own public order and security – even in the event of a national health crisis.
The governors were therefore responsible for the different degrees of locking in place.
Texas, which has been at the forefront of measures to end the foreclosure, has seen thousands of new cases, prompting Republican Governor Greg Abbott to temporarily suspend its reopening on Friday.
He announced that he was closing bars, stopping rafting, and ordering restaurants to return to 50% capacity to try to stem the epidemic.
Texas confirmed a record 5,996 new cases on Thursday, while an additional 47 deaths were also reported, the highest daily toll in a month.
Florida broke its own daily record of new infections on Friday, reporting 8,942 new cases. The previous record was 5,508, reported Wednesday. The state now has a total of 122,960 registered cases and 3,366 deaths.
Earlier, the Governor of Florida said that there were no plans to continue the reopening step by step. “We are where we are. I didn’t say we were going to the next phase, “Ron DeSantis told reporters.
Arizona has become another epicenter of the crisis. Governor Doug Ducey, who gave the green light to businesses to reopen, now says residents of Arizona are “safer at home.”
Other states, including Alabama, California, Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming, all recorded record daily increases in the number of confirmed cases. this week.
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut said they would ask people from eight states – Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Utah – to isolate themselves for 14 days.
California also reported a record number of new cases this week, with 7,149 confirmed Wednesday.
Governor Gavin Newsom said the state had performed more than a million tests in the past two weeks, of which about 5% were positive. Newsom has made it mandatory to wear a face mask in public.