Arizona recorded more coronavirus deaths, infections, hospitalizations and emergency room visits in a single day than ever before in a crisis, in one day through the Sunbelt that caused a chill in other parts of the country and led distant states to reopen plans on hold.
In Florida, hospitals prepared an influx of patients, with the largest medical center in Florida’s hardest hit county, the Miami Jackson Health System, reducing elective surgeries and other procedures to accommodate victims of the ongoing resurgence in South and West, The Associated Press reports.
Vice President Mike Pence, head of the White House coronavirus task force, planned to visit Arizona today, where cases skyrocketed since orders to stay home expired in mid-May.
Arizona reported record highs in a single day of nearly 4,900 new cases of Covid-19, 88 new deaths, nearly 1,300 emergency room visits and a total of nearly 2,900 people in the hospital.
Florida recorded more than 6,500 new cases, compared to around 9,000 on a few days last week, but it’s still alarming and totaling more than 3,500 deaths.
Before July 4, South Florida counties are closing beaches to fend off large crowds that could spread the virus.
The lead-up to the cases has been attributed in part to what the New Jersey governor called “silly behavior” by Americans who don’t wear masks or obey other social distancing rules.
“Too many people crowded into restaurants late at night, turning these establishments into breeding grounds for this deadly virus,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez, by banning restaurants with seats for more than eight people from serving customers within midnight at 6 am.
Health experts say the virus in Florida and other southern states runs the risk of becoming uncontrollable, with case numbers too large to track.
Marilyn Rauth, a senior citizen in Punta Gorda, said Florida’s reopening was “too soon.”
“The sad thing is that the spread of Covid-19 will probably continue for some time, although we could have flattened the curve with responsible leadership,” he said.
“Experience has now shown that most people do not distance themselves socially on beaches, bars, etc. Obviously, the governor has no concern for the health of the state’s citizens.”
Some distant states and cities that seemed to have tamed their outbreaks, including Colorado, Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey, halted or backed down on some of their plans to reopen bars and restaurants.
And New York and New Jersey are asking visitors from 16 states from the Carolinas to California to be quarantined for two weeks.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city is delaying the resumption of dinner at restaurants, and not because of an increase in cases there.
The number of confirmed cases in the US per day has roughly doubled in the past month, reaching 44,800 on Tuesday, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.
That’s even higher than the nation witnessed during the deadliest stretch of the crisis in mid-April through early May.