U.S. Has 4 Percent of World's Population But 25 Percent of Coronavirus Cases as Infections Soar

The number of new daily cases in the U.S. hit 45,498 on June 26, breaking the previous record set in April, as infections continue to spike in most of the country

Spiking Map
Photo: Martin Schwartz/PEOPLE

The U.S. now has 25 percent of the world's COVID-19 cases, despite representing just 4 percent of the population, as infections continue to surge in most of the country, CNN reported.

Though the number of new deaths has been declining, the majority of the country is seeing record numbers of new COVID-19 infections. Thirty-three states have an increasing number of cases over the last two weeks — Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming — according to The New York Times database.

States like Alabama and Wyoming had previously reported a decline in cases. Several have also seen their highest seven-day average of the entire pandemic in the last week — more than at the nationwide height of the outbreak in April.

Florida, for example, reported 9,585 new COVID-19 cases in late June, shattering their previous record. In response, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has ordered bars in the state to close again, and Miami has shut down their beaches for the Fourth of July weekend.

coronavirus restaurants
People dine in Florida as the state reopens.

Experts warned in mid-June that the southeastern state has "all the markings of the next large epicenter of coronavirus transmission," according to a team of scientists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, CNN reported.

"The potential for the virus to take off there is very, very nerve-racking and could have catastrophic consequences" due to state's older population Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, director of the division of infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham told the outlet.

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Arizona similarly reported a new single-day high with 3,809 new cases on June 28, and in Texas, there were a record 6,584 new infections on June 24.

In Houston, the largest city in Texas, hospitalizations have tripled since Memorial Day weekend, the CEO of one of the main hospital systems said.

“I think what’s happened is people have just completely let their guard down,” he said. “… Somewhere around Memorial Day people just sighed a deep breath of relief and said, ‘Hey, it’s summer, I’m going to act like it’s summer and I’m going to act like this thing was never here.’ And we’re really paying the price for that now.”

In Utah — another state seeing a rise in cases — Dr. Angela Dunn, the state's epidemiologist, said she traced Utah's resurgence to the start of the reopening, which began before Memorial Day.

“The timing directly correlates with our loosening up restrictions,” Dunn told the Times. “That definitely has something to do with it.”

On June 24, the U.S. set a new record for daily infections with 37,014, breaking the previous record of 36,738 from April 24. The next two days brought more records, and new cases hit 45,498 on June 26.

Meanwhile, the number of new cases abroad is higher than ever, with more than 10 million cases and half a million deaths as of June 29.

China, the original epicenter of the virus, recently imposed new travel restrictions on nearly half a million residents near Beijing to try and contain a new outbreak in the area, according to CTV News.

After months of no new cases in the area, 21 cases of the virus were reported on Thursday.

Brazil, South America’s largest country, has surged as the country with the second-highest number cases and deaths globally, second only to the U.S.

As of July 3, more than 2.7 million people in the U.S. have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 129,000 people have died.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Updated by
Julie Mazziotta

Julie Mazziotta is the Sports Editor at PEOPLE, covering everything from the NFL to tennis to Simone Biles and Tom Brady. She was previously an Associate Editor for the Health vertical for six years, and prior to joining PEOPLE worked at Health Magazine. When not covering professional athletes, Julie spends her time as a (very) amateur athlete, training for marathons, long bike trips and hikes.

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