Thu | Aug 6, 2020

US holiday fuels worries about skyrocketing virus cases

Published:Sunday | July 5, 2020 | 10:21 AM
Umbrellas, blankets, and towels are socially distanced in San Clemente, California on Saturday, July 4, 2020. (Mark Rightmire/The Orange County Register via AP)

ST PETE BEACH, Florida (AP) — The United States has dipped under 50,000 new daily infections for the first time in four days, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, but experts fear celebrations for the July 4th weekend will act like rocket fuel for the nation’s surging coronavirus outbreak.

Johns Hopkins on Sunday counted 45,300 new coronavirus infections reported Saturday in the US after three days in which the daily count reached as high as 54,500 new cases.

The lower figure does not mean the situation in the US is improving, it could be due to reduced reporting on a national holiday.

The United States has the most infections and virus-related deaths in the world, with 2.8 million cases and nearly 130,000 dead, according to the university.

Experts say the true toll of the pandemic is significantly higher, due to people who died before they were tested and missed mild cases.

Worldwide, nearly 11.3 million people have been infected and over 531,000 have died, with outbreaks surging in India, South Africa, Pakistan, Brazil and several other Latin American countries.

In a first, South Africa on Sunday reported more than 10,000 new confirmed cases in a single day.

To show just how steep the US infection curve is, authorities were reporting under 20,000 new infections a day as recently as June 15.

On Saturday, Florida and Texas reported more record daily increases in confirmed cases and virus-related deaths have begun to rise.

Despite warnings by health experts to limit gatherings, President Donald Trump went ahead with a speech at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota on Friday and an evening of tribute and fireworks Saturday on the National Mall in Washington. 

Trump used the nation’s Independence Day as an occasion to assail those who do not support him and did not mention the horrific death toll from the pandemic.

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