The United States reported more than 47,000 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, the biggest one-day increase since the pandemic began, as the government’s top infectious disease expert warned that the number could soon double and that deaths could reach a “disturbing” level.
California, Texas and Arizona have emerged as new epicenters of the pandemic, reporting record increases in COVID-19 cases.
“Clearly, we are not in full control at this time,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a committee of the United States Senate. “I am very concerned that it could get very bad.”
Fauci said the daily increase in new cases could reach 100,000 unless efforts to combat the disease are stepped up. He called on Americans to comply with health guidelines, urging people to cover their faces when they are in public and avoid crowded places.
“We cannot focus only on those areas that are having a sudden increase. It puts the whole country at risk,” he said.
Fauci’s comments came when the daily death toll reached 1,199, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. It is the first time it has exceeded 1,000 since June 10. The United States has recorded 127,322 deaths since the pandemic began, the highest in the world.
Fauci declined to predict the expected number of deaths from the pandemic, but said it would be “disturbing.”
COVID-19 cases doubled in June in at least 10 states, including Texas and Florida, a Reuters count showed. In parts of Texas and Arizona, intensive care hospital beds for COVID-19 patients are scarce.
More than 126,000 Americans died from COVID-19, and millions lost their jobs when states and major cities ordered residents to stay home and close businesses. The economy contracted sharply in the first quarter and crater is expected in the second.
‘Trump failed us’
The European Union has removed Americans from its “safe list” of countries from which the bloc will allow non-essential travel starting Wednesday.
The new surge in cases and hospitalizations has lowered hopes that the worst of human and economic pain has passed, prompting new criticism of President Donald Trump as he seeks reelection on November 3.
His rival, Democrat Joe Biden, said Tuesday that Trump’s “historic mismanagement” of the pandemic had cost lives and inflicted more damage than necessary on the US economy.
“It didn’t have to be this way. Donald Trump failed us,” said the 77-year-old former vice president in a speech in Delaware, where he unveiled an updated plan to tackle the pandemic calling for more evidence and the hiring of 100,000 contract tracers.
Last week, California, Texas and Florida moved to close recently reopened bars, which public health officials believe contributed to the recent spikes.
On Tuesday, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut added travelers from California and seven other states to those who must be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival. Texas and Florida were named last week.
South Carolina has also emerged as a hot spot, reporting a record one-day rise of 1,755 cases on Tuesday.
In Texas, where the number of new cases rose to a one-day record of 6,975 on Tuesday, Houston hospitals said beds were rapidly filling with COVID-19 patients.
Dr. Marc Boom, executive director of Houston Methodist Hospital, told CNN on Tuesday that his hospital beds had seen a “very significant” increase in COVID-19 patients, although the death rate had decreased.
Boom said he was concerned about Independence Day celebrations this weekend, when Americans traditionally flock to beaches and camps to watch fireworks.
“Frankly, it scares me,” he said.