The spread of coronavirus infections has taken a “fast and very dangerous turn” in the US state of Texas, Governor Greg Abbott warned.
“In recent weeks, the daily number of cases has gone from an average of about 2,000 to more than 5,000 per day,” he said Sunday.
Several southern and western states have seen an increase in cases after blocking restrictions were reduced.
The number of reported infections in the US has now exceeded 2.5 million.
It is confirmed that more than 125,000 Covid-19 patients died across the country, more than in any other country.
- Is the pandemic getting worse in the United States?
- People fighting the outbreak of America
The virus has now been linked to more than 500,000 deaths worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
What’s the latest on the increase in American cases?
The increase has prompted officials in Texas, Florida and other states to tighten restrictions on business again, with warnings that hospitals may soon be overwhelmed.
On Sunday, Abbott said as many as 5,000 people a day were admitted to the hospital for treatment.
United States Vice President Mike Pence said Texas would receive additional Covid-19 test kits for as long as needed.
“We will make sure that Texas, and its health system in Texas, have the resources, the supplies, and the staff to meet at this time,” Pence said.
The vice president also urged Texans to wear masks “where indicated”, saying that “we know from experience that the spread of the coronavirus will decrease.”
Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, who spoke at a joint press conference with Governor Abbott on Sunday, said a nationwide mandate to cover her face was “definitely delayed.”
“We have the worst record of any country in the world,” he added.
In the Texas state capital Austin, the requirement to wear face covers in some circumstances to help mitigate the spread of the virus led to protests on city streets by people who opposed the measure.
On Sunday, Arizona also recorded a record daily increase of more than 3,800 cases. Hundreds of people reportedly traveled to the state’s rivers to escape the hot weather.
The reported increases in infections in the southern and western states come after moves in recent weeks to reopen businesses, resulting in an influx of people from other areas.
Responding to the level of new cases, Abbott told bars last week to close and limited the indoor seating capacity of restaurants to 50%. The restaurants had been previously authorized to operate at 75% of their capacity and the bars at 50%.
In the Texas city of Galena Park, east of Houston, the mayor imposed a nightly curfew and warned that hospitals could soon be overwhelmed.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also re-imposed restrictions, ordering state bars to stop serving alcohol on its premises.
What is the general situation in the United States?
On Sunday, Johns Hopkins University said the total number of cases in the country had increased to 2,539,544. While some of the increase narrowed to more extensive testing, the rate of positive testing in some areas is also increasing.
Health officials estimate that the actual number of cases is likely to be 10 times greater than the confirmed total. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has said that up to 20 million Americans may have been infected.
The increase in cases was fueled by youth, ages 18 to 34, who tested positive, especially in the southern and western United States, said CDC chief Dr. Robert Redfield.
The White House has said that the situation is stabilizing in most of the country.
At a coronavirus briefing on Friday, Pence praised the “truly remarkable progress of the Trump administration in advancing our nation,” highlighting improvements in job numbers and retail sales.
Covid-19 emerged in China at the end of last year and spread worldwide. Coronavirus cases worldwide have already exceeded 10 million, Johns Hopkins reports.
Half of the world’s cases have been in the United States and Europe, but the virus is now growing rapidly in the Americas.