Tue | Jul 7, 2020

States retreat as new virus cases hit an all-time high in US

Published:Friday | June 26, 2020 | 12:16 PM
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey speaks about the latest coronavirus data at a news conference Thursday, June 25, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)

Texas and Florida clamped down on bars again Friday in the biggest retreat yet amid a surge across the South and West that sent the number of confirmed new coronavirus infections per day in the United States to an all-time high of 40,000.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered all bars closed, while Florida banned alcohol consumption at all such establishments.

Together the two states joined the small but growing list of those that are either backtracking or putting any further reopenings of their economies on hold because of comeback by the virus.

Abbott had pursued up to now one of the most aggressive reopening schedules of any state and had not only resisted calls to order the wearing of masks but had also refused until last week to let local governments take such measures.

“It is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars,” he said.

“The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health.”

The Florida agency that governs bars acted after the daily number of confirmed cases neared 9,000, a record that was almost double the previous mark set just two days earlier.

Texas, meanwhile, reported more than 17,000 confirmed new cases in the past three days, with a record high of nearly 6,000 on Thursday.

The day’s tally of over 4,700 hospitalisations was also a record.

A number of the hardest-hit states, including Texas, Florida, Arizona and Arkansas, have Republican governors who have resisted mask-wearing requirements and echoed President Donald Trump’s desire to quickly reopen the economy.

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