US reports jump in new coronavirus cases over the weekend
Public officials in the west and south of the US have stepped up their warnings about coronavirus in the wake of states in those regions reporting record one-day increases in new Covid-19 cases over the weekend.
Florida and Texas on Saturday, and California on Sunday, each reported record one-day increases in excess of 4,000 new cases, while states including Georgia, South Carolina and Oklahoma — where President Donald Trump held a rally on Saturday — were among others to report record daily increases over the weekend.
In total, 27,465 people in the US tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. That is down from 32,325 on Saturday, which was the biggest one-day increase since early May. Typically, weekend figures, as well as those on Monday, tend to be lower than on other days because of a slowdown in testing.
About half of all new daily cases in the US are coming from cases in the Deep South, some of which were among the earliest to reopen their economies. The south’s share of national cases has been steadily rising, in part because states in the north-east — such as New York and New Jersey, which were early hotspots for the virus — have brought the spread of the virus under control.
Increased testing across the US has also contributed to more cases of coronavirus being revealed, but there are differing views among elected officials as to whether that is simply the reason.
Ron DeSantis, Florida’s Republican governor, acknowledged during a press briefing on Saturday that the rising number of new Covid-19 cases in his state was not simply a byproduct of an increase in testing. “Even with the testing increasing or being flat, the number of people testing positive is accelerating faster than that,” he said.
Later that day, Mr Trump told his rally in Tulsa that he had asked officials to slow the number of coronavirus tests because “when you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more cases”. The president has since said of Saturday’s remarks that he was kidding, but he has regularly pointed to the ramp-up in tests in the US as a measure of his efforts to combat the pandemic.
California is testing more than 70,000 people a day and Texas on Sunday tested a record 62,782, while states that have recently reported an increase in new cases like Arizona, Alabama and North and South Carolina are also conducting record numbers of tests. Some states, including Georgia and Florida, have average testing rates that are below peak levels despite their record one-day increases in new cases.
Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday ordered California residents to wear face coverings in public and “high-risk situations”, having previously only recommended the use of such personal protective equipment. North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said in a tweet last week that he was “examining issues surrounding a statewide requirement of face masks” but added: “Regardless of whether it’s a law or store requirement, wearing a face covering when you’re around others slows the spread of the virus.”
California yesterday reported 4,515 new cases of coronavirus since Saturday, a record one-day increase and the biggest rise of any state. Texas (3,866) and Florida (3,494) had the next-biggest increases, down from peaks above 4,000 on Saturday. Arizona (2,592) and North Carolina (1,412) were the two other states with more than 1,000 new cases, while Washington (654), Oklahoma (478) and Missouri (413) each had record increases.
The trend of coronavirus deaths has been declining. A further 297 people in the US died from the disease between Saturday and Sunday, according to the Covid Tracking Project, the smallest one-day increase since March 25.