US surpasses 3 million known infections with coronavirus surge

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HOUSTON (Reuters) – The coronavirus epidemic in the United States has reached a grim milestone of more than 3 million confirmed cases on Tuesday, as more states reported a record number of new infections, and Florida has been confronted an imminent shortage of hospital beds in intensive care units.

Iris Ortega, who arrived at 1:50 a.m., sits in her car while people wait in their vehicles waiting in line for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing in Houston, Texas , United States, July 7, 2020. REUTERS / Callaghan O ‘Lièvre

Authorities have reported alarming increases in the daily workload in about two dozen states in the past two weeks, indicating that efforts to control the transmission of the new coronavirus have failed in large swaths of the country.

On Tuesday, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oklahoma and Texas broke their daily record records for new cases. The biggest jumps occurred in Texas and California, the two largest American states, with more than 10,000 each. About 24 states have reported worrying infection rates as a percentage of diagnostic tests performed in the past week.

In Texas alone, the number of hospital patients more than doubled in just two weeks.

This trend has prompted many more Americans to seek COVID-19 projections. The US Department of Health and Human Services said Tuesday it is adding short-term “surge” test sites in three metropolitan areas in Florida, Louisiana and Texas.

In Houston, a line of more than 200 cars crisscrossed the United Memorial Medical Center as people waited for hours in the sweltering heat to get tested. Some had arrived the day before to get a queue at the drive-through site.

“I got tested because my younger brother got positive,” said Fred Robles, 32, who spent the night in his car. “There are so many people who need to get tested, there’s nothing you can do.”

Dean Davis, 32, who lost his job due to the pandemic, said he arrived at the test site on Tuesday at 3 a.m. after waiting hours on Monday, but failed to make the cut.

“I was like, let me get here at 3 am, maybe no one will be here,” said Davis. “I got here, there was already a line. ”

In Florida, more than four dozen hospitals in 25 of 67 counties have reported that their intensive care units have reached their full capacity, according to the State Agency for Health Care Administration. Only 17% of the state’s 6,010 adult ICU total beds were available on Tuesday, up from 20% three days earlier.

Additional hospitalizations could strain healthcare systems in many areas, leading to an increase in lives lost to the respiratory illnesses that have killed more than 131,000 Americans to date. At least 923 of these deaths were reported on Tuesday, the biggest day-long toll since June 10, but still far less than the record of 2806 recorded in April.

A widely cited mortality model from the Institute of Metrology and Health Assessment at the University of Washington (IHME) predicted on Tuesday that deaths in the United States would reach 208,000 people on November 1, as the epidemic is expected to take new momentum in the fall.

An expected decline in summer virus transmission never materialized, according to the IHME.

“The United States has not seen a real end to the first wave of the pandemic,” said IHME director Dr. Christopher Murray in a statement. “This will not spare us from a second push in the fall, which will hit particularly hard those states that are currently experiencing high levels of infections.”

“PRESSURE ON GOVERNORS”

President Donald Trump, who lobbied to restart the U.S. economy and urged the Americans to resume normal operations, said Tuesday that he would rely on state governors to open schools in the fall.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said that some people wanted to keep schools closed for political reasons. “No way, so we are going to pressure the governors and everyone to open the schools. ”

New COVID-19 infections are on the rise in 42 states, according to a Reuters analysis of the past two weeks. By Tuesday afternoon, the number of confirmed cases in the United States had exceeded 3 million, affecting almost one in 100 Americans and a population roughly equal to that of Nevada.

In Arizona, another hot spot, the rate of positive coronavirus tests rose to 26% for the week ended July 5, leading two dozen states with positivity rates above 5%. The World Health Organization considers a rate above 5% to be worrying.

The outbreak forced authorities to reverse their decisions to reopen businesses, such as restaurants and bars, after the compulsory closings in March and April reduced economic activity to a virtual standstill and put millions of Unemployed Americans.

Slideshow (4 Images)

The Texas state fair, slated to open on September 25, has been canceled for the first time since World War II, organizers announced on Tuesday.

In Ohio, Governor Mike DeWine said the state is ordering residents of seven counties to wear a face covering in public starting Wednesday evening.

Reporting by Callaghan O’Hare in Houston and Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Additional reports by Maria Caspani, Gabriella Borter, Caroline Humer and Peter Szekely in New York and Susan Heavey and Jeff Mason in Washington Writing by Paul Simao and Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Berkrot, Cynthia Osterman, Tom Brown and Leslie Adler

Our standards:Principles of the Thomson Reuters Trust.

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