US hits 2.5M coronavirus cases as states tally record one-day highs

The U.S. reached over 2.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday as several states experience record-breaking spikes of infections amid efforts to reopen the economy. 

According to a count by Johns Hopkins University, as of Saturday, 2,501,244 have tested positive for the coronavirus in the U.S. and 125,435 people have died.

Globally, 9,891,727 people have tested positive and 496,075 people have died.

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Since April, the U.S. has been the worst-affected country in the world. Public health officials estimate the actual numbers are much higher, considering some people who contract the disease are asymptomatic and others lack access to coronavirus tests. 

The newest U.S. tally also comes as the nation faces multiple crises: mitigating the coronavirus and confronting police brutality and structural racism. Nationwide protests erupted in late May after the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day.

The coronavirus has also drawn back the curtain on racial disparities with regard to health care, as many Black and Hispanic Americans are suffering and dying from coroanvirus at a higher rate than their white counterparts

The hot spot areas in the country have shifted from the start of the pandemic in late February. 

In the beginning, New York and New Jersey saw massive outbreaks concentrated in the New York City Metro Area. Local leaders then imposed strict social distancing guidelines to stop the spread.

The area has since seen a steady decline in hospitalizations and new confirmed cases.

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New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNYT editorial board remembers Ginsburg: She 'will forever have two legacies' New York to honor Ginsburg with statue in Brooklyn New York City bus driver knocked out by passenger he told to wear a mask MORE (D) reported 703 new confirmed cases, 907 hospitalization and 13 deaths on Saturday. On its worst day, April 7, New York reported 703 deaths.

Texas, Oklahoma, Arizona and Florida among other states, have seen rapid spikes in cases this month following their re-openings. And in California, a state that took early precautions, there has been an increase in infections this month. 

Florida on Saturday experienced a record-high number of coronavirus cases for the third time in four days, tallying almost 10,000 infections in a single day. Though Florida is about one-third the population of Italy, it has surpassed the Italy's record for it's worst-one day tally which was just over 6,500 on March 21. 

Arizona recorded 3,591 new cases on Saturday, according to the state’s public health department. 

Texas recorded over 5,700 new coronavirus cases on Saturday breaking previous records from days before.

The spike in cases has prompted local leaders in some states to backtrack on their reopening efforts.  

Texas and Florida, two of the first states to reopen, ordered bars and some outdoor recreation businesses to close once again on Friday. In most of the state’s experiencing spikes right now, most new cases are among young adults. 

“What we’ve seen, particularly over the last week, is a real explosion in new cases among our younger demographics,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisKey swing-state election lawsuits could help shape the presidential race First death reported from Hurricane Sally in Alabama Trump tells Gulf Coast residents to prepare for 'extremely dangerous' Hurricane Sally MORE (R) said Friday.

The increase in cases come as President Trump and members of his administration have sought to move on from the threat of the coronavirus and resume campaigning before the 2020 election. 

The Trump campaign has held indoor rallies in Arizona and Oklahoma, going directly against guidance from public health officials. Public health guidance, such as wearing masks and avoiding crowded spaces, particularly indoors, are not enforced by law in most states.

In Arizona, for example, wearing masks is recommended by the state but only enforced by select city ordinances. The same is true in cities in Texas, where municipalities have clashed with state leaders on face mask policies.

Vice President Pence has postponed campaign events in Florida and Arizona “out of an abundance of caution” as both states experience a spike in coronavirus cases.

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Pence will still be visiting the states to meet with public health officials.

Though the U.S. has a larger population than other countries with serious outbreaks, the Trump administration has argued there are an increased number of cases in America because of a higher rate of testing.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpUS reimposes UN sanctions on Iran amid increasing tensions Jeff Flake: Republicans 'should hold the same position' on SCOTUS vacancy as 2016 Trump supporters chant 'Fill that seat' at North Carolina rally MORE said at a campaign event in Tulsa, Okla., last week that he wishes the country would conduct less testing so the tally of infections could be smaller. 

Administration officials including the president himself have said that his comments were in jest after the remarks sparked backlash.

“Sometimes I jokingly say, or sarcastically say, if we didn’t do tests we would look great,” Trump told Sean Hannity during a televised Fox News town hall event Thursday. “But you know what? It’s not the right thing to do.”

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciDemocratic chairman says White House blocked FDA commissioner from testifying Overnight Health Care: CDC reverses controversial testing guidance | Billions more could be needed for vaccine distribution | Study examines danger of in-flight COVID-19 transmission Trump claims enough COVID-19 vaccines will be ready for every American by April MORE, the nation's leading infectious disease expert and a top member of the White House coronavirus task force, told lawmakers that the country is ramping up testing, not scaling down.