(Reuters) – The United States experienced a 46% increase in new COVID-19 cases in the week ending June 28 compared to the previous seven days, and 21 states reported above-positivity test rates that the World Health Organization has marked as envelope.
FILE PHOTO: People prepare to tube the Salt River amid the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Arizona, USA, June 27, 2020. REUTERS / Cheney Orr
Nationwide, 7% of diagnostic tests returned positive results last week, compared to 5% the previous week, according to a Reuters analysis of data from The COVID Tracking Project, an effort by volunteers to track the outbreak.
The World Health Organization considers that a positivity rate above 5% is cause for concern because it suggests that there are more cases in the community that have not yet been discovered.
Arizona’s positivity test rate was 24% last week, Florida’s was 16%, and Nevada, South Carolina and Texas were 15%, according to the analysis.
(Open tmsnrt.rs/2WTOZDR in an external browser for a Reuters interactive)
Thirty-one states, primarily in the western and southern United States, reported more new cases of COVID-19 last week compared to the previous week, according to the analysis. Florida, Louisiana, Idaho and Washington state saw more than double new cases during that period.
In response to new infections, the states of Louisiana and Washington have temporarily halted the reopening of their economies. Washington also ordered wearing masks in public.
Florida ordered the closure of all bars and some beaches. Idaho was not immediately available for comment.
Nationwide, new cases of COVID-19 have increased each week for four consecutive weeks. While part of that increase can be attributed to a 9% expansion in testing, health experts have also been concerned that states relax stay-at-home orders that were blamed for curbing the outbreak.
State officials across the country report the same trend in new cases: People under the age of 35 go to bars, parties, and social events without masks, become infected, and then pass the disease on to others.
Cases continue to decline in the Northeast states, but some Midwestern states that had new infections under control are seeing cases increase again, including Illinois, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
(GRAPH: follow-up of the new coronavirus in the US link: here)
(GRAPHIC: World-centered tracker with interactive country-by-country link: here)
Reports by Chris Canipe in Kansas City, Missouri, and Lisa Shumaker in Chicago; Editing by Tiffany Wu