At least 40,173 new cases have been reported, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University. The previous daily record was reported on Thursday.
More than 30 states are battling an increasing number, and the United States is recording, on average, more new cases per day than ever. But Vice President Mike Pence said on Friday “we have all seen encouraging news as we reopen America.”
“To a certain extent, the volume of new cases arriving is a reflection of the great success in expanding testing across the country,” said Pence.
At least nine other states have announced that they are not moving forward with the next phase of reopening. These states are Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Carolina.
” It’s a problem. We can spin it in all kinds of different ways. But the reality is that not only are things bad, they are as bad as they have ever been regarding new daily infections, “said CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
In Texas, one of the first states to reopen, Governor Greg Abbott “suspended” the state’s gradual economic reopening. On Friday, he ordered new restrictions on businesses, including a requirement that bars should only be open for delivery and takeout and require local authorities to approve a gathering of 100 or more people.
The second most populous state in the country, Texas, reported a record 5,996 new cases on Thursday and 5,707 new cases on Friday.
“For the moment, it is clear that the increase in the number of cases is largely due to certain types of activities, in particular the Texans who gather in bars,” Abbott said in a statement on Friday.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services announced Friday that it will continue to support the Covid-19 tests in Texas by allowing the federal test sites to operate for an additional 14 days.
But in Florida, where new cases have affected nearly 9,000 people in a single day, Governor Ron DeSantis told reporters on Friday that the push was the result of a “dump test”.
“Really, nothing has changed in the past week,” said the governor, adding that the new cases involved younger people, generally asymptomatic and mainly due to community transmission.
DeSantis said Florida on Friday suspended on-site alcohol consumption in bars across the state due to non-compliance with state directives.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s foremost infectious disease expert, urged Americans to follow advice and social distancing.
“For the love of heaven: avoid the crowds, wear masks. These are the fundamentals that – when you watch TV clips, when you see photos in the newspapers – people don’t do that. This is a recipe for disaster, “said Fauci. in an interview with Meg Tirrell from CNBC.
Nationwide, nearly 40,000 cases of coronavirus were reported on Thursday, surpassing a previous one-day high on April 24, according to Johns Hopkins University. The country averages more new cases per day than ever, with a seven-day average of 33,035 Thursday, according to a CNN analysis of the Johns Hopkins data.
Like Texas, several states, including Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee and Utah, reported their highest number of new daily cases on Friday.
The developments mark a “heartbreaking situation” that requires tougher action immediately, said Dr. Peter Hotez of Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
“We have to save lives at this point,” he told CNN.
Between 5 and 8% of Americans infected
And while more than 2.4 million cases have been diagnosed across the country since the start of the pandemic, the number of people infected should be 10 times higher. Antibody tests show that more than 20 million people have been infected with the coronavirus, most of them unknowingly, said Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Antibody tests examine a person’s blood for signs of the immune system responding to an infection. Federal authorities have conducted such tests nationwide to determine how many people have undiagnosed infections.
“A good rough estimate is now 10 to 1,” said Redfield.
Between 5% and 8% of Americans have been infected with the coronavirus, their number varying by region. New York, once the epicenter of the pandemic, will have a higher percentage of people with previous infections than some western states, said Redfield.
This means that 90% or more have not been infected and are susceptible to the virus, underscoring the need to act aggressively to counter rising infection rates, he said.
Some cases went unnoticed in part because tests were initially limited to the very sick, said Redfield. As more and more people are tested, he added, it is clear that a high percentage have mild symptoms or none at all.
Fauci said Friday that the White House coronavirus task force “is seriously considering” joint testing and admitted to the Washington Post that the current strategy of the Trump administration is not enough.
The “pool test” mixes virus test samples from multiple people in a batch or pool, then tests the pooled sample once. If it comes back negative, all the people in the batch can be eliminated at the same time. If the result is positive, each person’s sample is analyzed individually.
The mass filtering proposal is still under discussion and should not be announced at the task force briefing later on Friday, Fauci told CNN.
More states report rising cases
The coronavirus has killed more than 124,000 people in the United States, and confirmed cases are increasing in most of the country.
So far, 32 states report an increase in new coronavirus cases this week compared to the previous week. Eleven of them report an increase of 50% or more. They include Montana, Idaho, Vermont, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Missouri and Mississippi.
Miami started to demand masks in public at 5 p.m. Thursday, and Mayor Francis Suarez said DeSantis should do the same for the whole of the state.
“I would recommend it. I have no problem, “Suarez told CNN Friday, noting that the state’s pandemic was” four times as intense as it was in March. ”
Doing without a mask in public in Miami could result in a fine of up to $ 500 for repeat offenders.
But the Governor of Florida said on Friday that he would not impose statewide masks and “would trust people to make good decisions.”
“I think it’s the best approach than trying to prosecute someone criminally for that,” said DeSantis.
At least 32 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico require residents to wear masks in public places, according to a CNN count.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey said at a press conference on Thursday: “It is growing and growing fast across all age groups and all demographics. Anyone can get this virus and anyone can spread this virus. ”
Arizona health officials reported more than 3,000 new cases last week, a rate that could soon overwhelm intensive care hospitals, said the governor. “We think our numbers will get worse next week and the week after,” said Ducey.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom declared a budget emergency to free up $ 16 billion to fight the pandemic. State hospitals have seen a 32% increase in coronavirus patients in the past two weeks, he said.
US representative Raul Ruiz, a California Democrat and doctor, says many counties have reopened too quickly.
“At least in my riding, Riverside County, they opened the economy too soon,” said Ruiz on Friday. “The counties you see with the highest rate of transmission and increase are the counties that opened too early. ”
The list of the most vulnerable is updated
At the start of the pandemic, health officials focused on the elderly population and those with underlying health conditions. This idea has changed in recent weeks.
The CDC has removed the specific age threshold, saying it is not just people over the age of 65 who are at increased risk for serious illness.
More young people who test positive are a “smoldering fire” that will hit vulnerable populations, said Erin Bromage, CNN medical analyst and professor of biology at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth.
Federal health officials have expanded the list of people potentially most at risk for serious complications from Covid-19.
Mild obesity, moderate to severe asthma, pregnant women and cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the CDC.
The same is true for people with sickle cell anemia, poorly controlled HIV infection, bone marrow transplant or organ transplant.